The mandate "No shirt, no shoes, no service"
appears on the doors of businesses the world over – but it doesn't necessarily apply to the exhibit hall. Nevada City Healing proved that point at the New Living Expo. Body painter Alison Kenyon, owner of Body Masterpiece, painted the skin of a shirtless brand ambassador to look like he was wearing a standard-issue, logo-emblazoned polo shirt. Passing attendees stopped to stare, and the bare-chested staffer used that pause in their sprint down the show aisle to move in and tell them more about Nevada City Healing's offerings.
As Seen on TV
Plenty of exhibitors offer product demos that make some type of claim. But the folks at Outdoor Tech ratcheted up the fun factor with their prove-it style demo at the Interbike International Bicycle Exposition in 2015. To illustrate just how waterproof its portable power banks are, it deposited two of them inside an aquarium. But this was no run-of-the-mill goldfish bowl. Rather, the aquarium – complete with fish, rocks, and faux greenery – resembled a tube-style television. The whimsical display caught visitors' attention and demonstrated the products' unique capabilities in one fell swoop.
The Apple Approach
To imprint its brand in the minds of attendees at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society Annual Conference & Exhibition, Orchard Software Corp. turned its exhibit into a stylized orchard. In the center of the booth stood a towering custom faux tree. The massive tree was visible from just about anywhere on the show floor and provided an attractive allure for attendees trekking past competitors' blasé booths. To add to the orchard-themed décor, the company placed kiosks resembling fruit carts along the aisles and filled each one to the brim with fruit-shaped squeeze toys. Each cart had the tagline "Harvest the Power" emblazoned on its side – solidifying the connection between the booth's decorations and the company's name – and giving staffers a launching point for talking with attendees about their software needs.
Displaying so-called ingredient technologies – components that go inside everything from cars to computers – can be a big challenge for exhibitors. For instance, a microchip inside a glass case does little to advance booth visitors' understanding of your products, but showcasing a functioning laptop with your tech inside almost obscures your offerings, putting the focus on the computer instead of your tiny chip. Livonia, MI-based TRW Automotive Inc., a maker of automobile parts and safety systems, was able to solve ingredient-technology issues at the International Consumer Electronics Show by positioning its products inside a translucent car. Complete with working doors, which gave attendees access to the car interior where they could pose for a photo op, the car featured dozens of TRW products ranging from air bags to tail lights. The transparent tactic made it clear to CES attendees exactly what the company was selling while putting those offerings firmly in the context of the final product.
Besthesda Softworks LLC, maker of the "Doom" video game franchise, brought its game's immersive action into the real world with a photo opportunity in its exhibit at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). A full-sized model of a popular character was positioned to appear as though he was leaping in midair in front of a backdrop featuring a scene from the game. Staffers invited attendees to grab hold of a replica of one of the game's weapons and pose with the jumping character. Photos were then sent to participants via email and shared online, which generated plenty of social-media buzz for the software company.
Just as people's eyes are drawn to footprints in the sand, so, too, are they drawn to graphic footprints running through an exhibit. Or at least that was the case for KMW Kuhlmobelwerk Limburg GmbH. In its exhibit at EuroShop, KMW applied green-vinyl footprints featuring the word "KMWproKlima" to its exhibit flooring. Starting at various points along the front edge of the space, the footprints all led to various displays of KMW's first carbon-neutral line of retail refrigeration units. The couldn't-miss footprints no doubt drew attendees' eyes – and then their feet – into the stand and directly to the featured product.
The Great Outdoors
At an event like the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA), it can be hard to stand out from the crowd – especially if you make something as small and nondescript as batteries. To make sure it got noticed, Weego, a subsidiary of Paris Corp., turned its exhibit into a campsite complete with a faux fire pit, camp chairs, and a lantern – all of which gave a nod to its product. The lantern and fire pit were powered by Weego's portable, rechargeable battery. And to remind attendees that the pocket-sized product is powerful enough to jumpstart a car engine, the company rolled a station wagon into the camp scene, which served as the main attraction. A strip of artificial grass, a portable grill, a picnic table, and a back-wall graphic of a forested landscape all drove home the myriad uses for the company's offerings.