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Giveaway Gamble
Exhibitors saddled with pint-sized booths often have an uphill battle when it comes to getting passersby to notice their wares – and that challenge increases exponentially when the product at hand isn't a high-tech gadget but a warranty for new-home builds. So to stop traffic on the show floor at the International Builders' Show, Professional Warranty Service made the focal point of its display a colorful tower of tchotchkes. When attendees approached the booth, staffers scanned their badges and handed them a scratch-off card. Each custom-printed card contained one of several codes for items such as a branded water bottle, an iPhone charger, and a keychain-affixed rubber frog that stuck out its tongue when squeezed. To make sure the booth mixed business with pleasure, text on the cards also included marketing messages to get the word out about the company's warranty service. Talk about a winning idea!
Off the Wall
The 2016 presidential election has become a media circus that will be discussed for generations. So Marco Longley, owner of The Heft, seized the opportunity to get people talking about his booth at the 2016 National Hardware Show. Longley placed a roughly 6-foot-tall cardboard cutout of contentious presidential candidate Donald Trump in the foreground of his company's 10-by-10-foot outdoor booth space. The cutout appeared to be holding The Heft, a specialized shovel with a bent handle that makes removing snow – or building a wall at the Mexican border – substantially easier. A tuft of hair glued onto the cutout fluttered in the Las Vegas breeze, and a text bubble mounted next to the character's mouth read "Help me build my wall with The Heft #HEFTtheWALL." A simple 8.5-by-11-inch sign taped to the curious cutout further informed passersby that they could win a Heft if they tweeted or posted on Instagram using the aforementioned hashtag and @RealDonaldTrump (the candidate's official account for both social-media sites). The irreverent display poked some good-natured fun at current events and had attendees posting and tweeting about Longley's product as well.
Hit the Floor
Hum-drum carpet is de rigueur for most exhibitors. But what if you opted to polish your footprint's concrete and apply graphics to it instead? That's exactly what Scott Sports SA did at Interbike 2015. Positioned along an aisle and directly in front of one of Scott Sports' products, the concrete-attached graphics not only proffered product specs without visually cluttering the rest of the space, but also acted as an attention grabber, seeing as so few companies affix graphics to their flooring.
Boxy Back Wall
Small booth spaces often force exhibitors to sacrifice style in favor of simple pop-ups that fail to pop out on the trade show floor. But at the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Two Parts LLC created a stylish structure comprising little more than 48 cardboard boxes, 17 of its 3-D printed ceramic LED light fixtures, and a stack of product literature. The dimensional back wall housed the cabling and electrical required to illuminate the fixtures (which lit up in a random wave pattern), while product catalogues were inconspicuously stacked inside one of the boxes, creating a no-cost literature rack featuring the company's product portfolio. Inexpensive, eye-catching, and undeniably effective, the paradoxically posh space proved that when you match creativity with your own product's packaging, you can erect an exhibit that's far more than the sum of its parts.
Submerged Sales
W.L. Gore and Associates Inc., manufacturer of the ubiquitous outdoor material Gor-Tex, wanted to tell attendees at The Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (aka The SHOT Show) that its boots and gloves can prevail against the elements while remaining breathable. But instead of shooting off its mouth, the company decided to show attendees the extent of its products' capabilities. To do so, the exhibit's design team crafted a back wall with a dozen clear, computer-monitor-sized containers mounted flush with the surface. Each one was filled with water and had a single glove or boot submerged inside it. Aerators positioned within each container generated a continuous stream of tiny air bubbles that enveloped the products, creating attention-grabbing movement in the booth as well as a symbolic nod toward the unique breathability of Gor-Tex material. A dry version of each product was displayed in front of its wet counterpart, allowing attendees to get hands on with the goods without getting their hands wet. Moreover, a banner above the display bearing the Gor-Tex tagline "Durably waterproof, windproof, breathable – guaranteed" summed up the wet and wild display for passersby.
Table of Trends
To give attendees at the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association's HCEAConnect show ideas for incorporating trends in the regulation-laden health-care sector, Freeman XP, the experiential-marketing arm of Freeman Co., unveiled an in-booth activity called The Trend Lab. When attendees approached the 10-by-20-foot exhibit, they saw a back-wall display that had rows of colorful blocks designed to look like the Periodic Table of Elements. But instead of familiar initials such as O, H, and Na, Freeman XP had substituted Hv, Bi, Lm, etc., all of which stood for different exhibiting trends. Staffers dressed in white lab coats used smaller versions of the 28 blocks that bedecked the back wall to launch into the activity. After reading a description of a trend printed on a particular block, attendees and staffers chatted about ways that idea could be implemented within the constraints of a health-care exhibiting program. The industry-appropriate (not to mention highly engaging) activity helped foster intimate conversations between attendees and Freeman XP staffers, reinforced the company's position as a marketing leader, and disseminated helpful exhibiting tips at the same time.

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