Rather than erect a traditional stand, Live Marketing Inc. took an "unbooth" approach to the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association's HCEAConnect show. Titled "The Backyard," the experiential-marketing agency's swath of show-floor real estate featured potted plants, a gigantic version of Jenga, colorful balloons and tablecloths, freestanding cutouts of trees and wading pools, and a smattering of picnic tables where reps could chat with prospects in the convivial environ.
To add a dose of practicality to the festive atmosphere, each table boasted an on-theme charging station in the form of a basket filled with artificial grass. Four charging cables poked out of the faux foliage, allowing booth visitors to power up their mobile devices while they talked shop.
To promote Idaho-brand tubers, the Idaho Potato Commission hit the open road with nothing more than a truck, a team of three brand ambassadors, and a potato – albeit a 28-foot-long, 4-ton fiberglass spud. People flocked to the oversized prop for cross-country photo ops that were widely shared on social media. And to capitalize on what the commission knew would be a huge hit, it was sure to photobomb the shots with graphics on the truck that touted the vegetable's a-peeling characteristics, such as the fact that a potato contains more potassium than a banana, ensuring that a healthy serving of messaging remained twice-baked into people's minds.
It's an undisputed fact that most attendees travel to trade shows and exhibitions to see what's new. But far too often, exhibitors do such an inadequate job of spotlighting their most recent products that casual passersby wouldn't even know there was anything new on display. Clif Bar & Co. made certain that attendees at Interbike Marketweek 2018 in Reno, NV, knew it was debuting new products in its lineup of organic foods and drinks. Built into its exhibit and forming a kind of canopy atop a sampling station was a school-bus-yellow header with three bold, black letters spelling out the word "New," which instantly conveyed that Clif had something novel for attendees to try. The simple – yet effective and often overlooked – tactic attracted hundreds of booth visitors who stopped by the exhibit for an opportunity to taste test Clif's latest treats.
A Shining Example
Sometimes it's far less important what you offer attendees and far more important who's doing the offering. A recent case in point comes from Laser Exhibitor Service Inc. In its booth at EXHIBITORLIVE, the conference for trade show and corporate event marketing, Laser provided any attendee who donated to the Randy Smith Memorial Fund (which aids exhibit-industry workers and their families who are facing medical hardships) a free shoeshine. Now, a shoeshine isn't exactly an everybody's-got-to-have-it service. So to sweeten the deal and differentiate Laser as an above-and-beyond installation-and-dismantle firm, the company's CEO, Les Bunge, did the polishing. Laser set up an elevated shoeshine station at the front of its exhibit, where signage explained the promotion and drew attention to the firm's offerings – and where Bunge got to work. Now that's a well-polished idea.
There's nothing better – or often more difficult to achieve – than aligning an exhibit's form with the function of the company's product. And at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, cutlery company Wüsthof-Trident of America Inc. was on point. While vivid graphics of sliced blood oranges added eye-catching appeal, it was the exhibit's sharp design that cut to the heart of the matter. Every wall was narrower at the base, as if a giant sous chef had used a Santoku knife to slice expert angles. In fact, there were few, if any, perfectly vertical or horizontal lines to be found in the booth. Display cabinets used to exhibit the company's array of cutlery were triangular with the tops slightly sloped. Even the eight rectangular meeting tables and the demonstration station were arranged in precise angles in relation to the aisles, emphasizing the exact cuts Wüsthof knives deliver. In terms of form and function, this design was a cut above the rest.
Buying branded carpeting doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, as Yul Technologies proved at Print in Chicago. The paper-cutter manufacturer laser cut its brand name into its 10-by-10-foot roll of carpet. During setup, staffers simply slipped a piece of white rubber beneath the gray carpet, giving the letters a pop of color and creating a simple remedy that turned the traditional flooring into an underfoot attraction. Even better, the company had the custom work done for less than $1,000, a shoestring solution every small-budget exhibitor can stand by – and on.
A Real Page-Turner
Reading is typically regarded as a pretty private experience, which posed a challenge for Ling Technology Inc., seeing as how the company sought to publicly demonstrate its owl-shaped, picture-book-reading robot, Luka, to the masses at the 2018 International Consumer Electronics Show. So much like Jack's fabled beanstalk, Ling decided to go big and bigger. The company positioned a massive picture book in front of a supersized, 10-foot-tall version of Luka. By inviting attendees to turn the pages, which often took a little teamwork due to their massive size, the company effectively transformed what would have been a static, one-on-one product demonstration into a dynamic, one-to-many display that ensured all booth visitors were in on the high-tech literary action and on the same page.