Trade show attendees don't typically associate comic book characters and Jedi knights with verdant plant life, but that didn't stop Gonzales Enterprises Inc. (aka Fifth Sun) from incorporating flora in its booth at the Magic fashion-industry trade show in Las Vegas. The Chico, CA-based apparel licensee for an impressive lineup of pop-culture institutions, including Batman, Star Wars, and Barbie, nestled individual succulent plants into the neck openings of folded T-shirts that were arranged in a colorful, grid-like pattern and affixed to the island exhibit's exterior walls. Additional garments-turned-planters bordered the bottom of a flatscreen monitor, adding a touch of life to an otherwise spartan display. The simple (and budget-friendly) organic approach stood out among the surrounding man-made exhibitry and roused enough curiosity for many passersby to duck into the booth and peruse Fifth Sun's offerings.
What can you do to fill an awkward 10-by-20-foot island exhibit space? If you're furniture provider Worlds Away Hospitality, you transform it into two distinct 10-by-10 booths. The company did just that at Boutique Design New York, crafting two exhibits whose back walls butted against one another in the center of the rectangular space. Attendees approaching the booth from one direction saw a minimalist vignette comprising modern furniture, while those coming from the opposite direction saw a more "blinged-out" display with a completely different aesthetic – effectively doubling the firm's show-floor presence. The clever design not only made the most of a less-than-ideal space, but also demonstrated the versatility of the exhibitor's furniture offerings.
Get in the Zone
Author and productivity expert Penny Zenker wanted attendees at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference to know about her book, "The Productivity Zone," and to stop by her company's booth to learn more about how the P10 Productivity Accelerator enables teams to measure and track the drivers of personal productivity. So playing off the "zone" theme of her book and the "team" nature of her training program, she created a football-focused exhibit, complete with faux-grass flooring, large-format graphics featuring stadium imagery, and referee-inspired booth uniforms. The sports-centric strategy played well with attendees, resulting in a trade show touchdown for P10.
To marry its marketing road show and exhibiting efforts at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Native Eyewear Inc. commissioned a piece of in-booth art that was equal parts road map and scrapbook. The company positioned a roughly 10-foot-square chalkboard in its booth and hired an artist to draw a map of the United States on it. While states were shaded with various hues, a solid white line indicated the route that the tour had already completed, and a dotted line indicated where the road show was heading. Images from previous tour stops were plastered around the map and secured with masking tape. The strategy combined the two independent marketing efforts, served as a conversational ice-breaker, and alerted the target audience of upcoming tour stops.
Beale Street Audio Inc. took inspiration from its namesake, the famous Beale Street Historic District in downtown Memphis, TN, for its booth at Integrated Systems Europe in Amsterdam. Dotted with blues clubs and restaurants, the 1.8-mile thoroughfare came to life in the audio hardware manufacturer's booth, courtesy of large-format graphics, faux-brick back walls, a series of authentic street lights, an overhead marquee-like element, and road signs identifying various product groupings, such as Amplifier Drive. Attracting attendees like groupies to a free music festival, Beale's immersive booth theme ensured that at the end of the four-day show, the company would be seeing green instead of singing the blues.
Nice to Meet You
Getting members of the press to show up to prescheduled in-booth meetings can be a never-ending battle. In an effort to win that war at the International Consumer Electronics Show, Audio-Technica U.S. Inc. sent an email to preregistered media members approximately one week before the show. The meeting-request missive promised recipients that if they scheduled and attended a 20-minute meeting with Audio-Technica, they would receive a complimentary pair of headphones valued at approximately $65. During the subsequent in-booth meetings, staffers walked press reps through a custom headphone fitting, outlined the products' specs, and imparted the firm's differentiators. According to Audio-Technica reps, the incentive worked, as roughly 70 percent of media members who had scheduled appointments showed up, took part in the 20-minute meetings, and heard the company's key messages loud and clear – proving that a little giving can go a long way indeed.
Framework for Success
To make its showroom space at the Hospitality Design Exposition and Conference in Las Vegas feel a little more homey – and to emphasize how it works with independent craftspeople to bring unique furniture designs to fruition – Advanced Millwork Inc. scattered picture frames throughout the vignettes in its exhibit. But instead of the usual photos of family vacations, the frames contained the original sketches of some of the furniture on display in the company's booth. Staffers then explained to interested attendees how Advanced Millwork helps manufacture the independently designed pieces on a larger scale and for a broader market.