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Bath Time
Contrary to popular trade show practices, successful exhibit marketing doesn't always require an exhibit. In fact, many companies eschew traditional exhibitry altogether in favor of the so-called unbooth approach, which prioritizes product over structure, keeping the spotlight squarely on your wares. But even an unbooth requires a bit of style if you want to avoid looking like your exhibit pulled a disappearing act en route to the show. Slik Portfolio successfully executed an elegant unbooth approach at the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Comprising little more than wooden crates, simple signage, and a sturdy outdoor umbrella with integrated lighting, the company's product displays sat directly atop the convention center's bare concrete flooring, creating a rustic and industrial setting perfectly suited for Slik's ruggedly sophisticated acrylic bathtubs, which attracted ICFF attendees in droves.
All Engines Go
For many exhibitors, the decision to use printed or digital graphics is an either/or issue. But Parker Aerospace, a division of Parker Hannifin Corp., managed to merge the two and create a striking display in its booth at the National Business Aviation Association show. While wall-mounted 3-D fuel nozzles remained static, a looping video on a recessed flatscreen depicted the spray of fuel into an airplane engine, and printed messaging explained what makes Parker the acknowledged leader in fluid metering, delivery, and atomization devices. The hybrid of print and digital techniques made attendees stop, stare, and even snap photos and videos. When's the last time your booth graphics did that?
Selfie Sweepstakes
To appeal to the "selfie-indulgence" of attendees at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show, Hisense USA Corp. hosted the Racing Selfie Sweepstakes inside its booth space. The company capitalized on its NASCAR affiliation by displaying the Hisense-branded Toyota Camry race car prominently in its exhibit. Nearby signage instructed booth visitors to follow @Hisense_USA on Instagram, take a selfie in the booth, and upload the photos to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #HisenseCES. A team of Hisense staffers selected the most creative and engaging selfies and rewarded the attendees behind them with tickets to the NASCAR Hisense 300 race event in Charlotte, NC, along with prerace pit passes, roundtrip airfare for two, and a two-night hotel stay. The photo-based promo generated thousands of tweets and Instagram posts and helped Hisense run laps around the competition.
Lemonade Lure
Who says you need lots of space to create a traffic-building hospitality area? Maypole LLC's playful lemonade stand – positioned along an aisle and bedecked with the company's party supplies – quenched attendees' thirst at the 2016 National Stationery Show. Staffers used the simple cardboard stand to entice attendees with free juice boxes, a lure that halted passersby and provided staffers with a golden opportunity to engage with clients and prospects. Booth workers ended those exchanges by encouraging visitors to follow "MaypoleNYC" on Instagram. Talk about a sweet sales tactic!
Game Show Host
Televised trivia-based game shows have been popular since "Twenty One" first aired in 1956, so it's no surprise that the archetype is often used for traffic-building tactics on the trade show floor. First Advantage employed just such an activity in its exhibit at the 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. After engaging with staffers, four attendees at a time stepped up to buzzer-equipped podiums, where an emcee asked them a series of questions. While some inquiries were purely for entertainment value, most related to First Advantage's services. Players earned points by buzzing in and answering questions correctly, and the participant with the highest score won anywhere from $25 to $100, with the amount determined by the spin of a prize wheel. Hundreds of SHRM attendees took part in the faux game show, and scores more stepped into the company's space to watch, ensuring that First Advantage's trade show investment was never in any jeopardy at all.
Plastic Fantastic
If your goal is to showcase intelligent, economical, and forward-thinking solutions, no prosaic pop-up or custom-built blight will do. So at EuroShop, shopfitting designer Visplay International GmbH created an intelligent exhibit comprising an economical material that definitely demonstrated its forward-thinking solutions. Its enclosed, 5,300-square-foot space was rimmed on three sides by towering walls made from white, semitransparent, interlocking, plastic crates. The unconventional construction underscored the firm's creativity and had EuroShop attendees pawing the enclosures and snapping selfies in front of the artful, albeit ordinary, building material. Dramatically lit via LEDs embedded in the base of each wall, the crates gave the appearance of frosted glass panels, offering only subtle silhouettes of what lay inside and begging passersby to explore further. Intelligent, economical, and forward-thinking, indeed. Now that's a crate idea.
Art Demo
For many riders, bicycles are works of art. So Andrew Lang Product Design Ltd. displayed its vertical bike-storage solution in a gallery-like setting at the Interbike International Bicycle Expo in Las Vegas. The firm attached two bicycles to a stark-white wall via the company's Endo storage system. Meanwhile, to the right of the bicycles, Andrew Lang mounted three photos of the storage tools in use along with eight placards showing recent industry and design-related awards doled out to this one-off product. The simple eye grabber displayed the product in action but also lent an air of sophistication to what is often a strictly utilitarian device.

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