PHOTOS: Padgett and Company Inc.
Electronic gaming and escapism go hand in hand, as virtually every game transports players beyond their normal reality. So for its exhibit at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East, marketers at Wizards of the Coast wanted attendees to escape into the world of Magic: The Gathering, the company's newest trading-card game.
Crafted by Pinnacle Exhibits Inc., the resulting 50-by-60-foot booth was indeed magic in terms of its interactive experience and its relatively low price tag of roughly $100 per square foot. "Integrating fabric scrim, wide-format graphics, and theatrical fog, we created an immersive space at a minimal price," says Giles Rickett, Pinnacle's director of creative and marketing. The entire space was enclosed in semitransparent fabric that towered up to 20 feet tall. Mesmerizing exterior character graphics drew people to the booth. Once inside, they meandered through a mist-filled realm featuring various Magic-related stations.
Crafted for Wizards of the Coast, this 50-by-60-foot exhibit was part of a larger integrated campaign that included a charging zone, where attendees could hang out and familiarize themselves with the game's story line, and a 100-by-200-foot tournament-play area, both of which were located elsewhere in the convention center.
PAX East attendees first discovered eerie graphics depicting a dark, dead forest. Here, designers positioned a series of laptops offering online game play along with a row of tablets into which attendees could input their contact information. Further inside the 3,000-square-foot space, attendees discovered a thematic photo opportunity where they wielded a medieval helmet and giant battle ax and posed for photos under a shower of fog.
Wizards' magical world attracted more than 7,000 attendees and generated 8.6 million media impressions, vaporizing Wizard's projections in the process. Not surprisingly, the design blew away Exhibit Design Awards judges' expectations as well. "No gamer could walk by this space without stopping and taking notice," one judge said. "And once inside, they were transported to a mysterious world thanks to effective graphics, lighting, and special effects. That's magic indeed."