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Reality Check
Corporate giving programs can be an effective way to endear a brand to trade show prospects, but finding a means of conveying such a program's impact is often a challenge. Toms Shoes LLC is famous for its One for One campaign, in which the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair it sells. To highlight this campaign and its global reach during the Magic show in Las Vegas, Toms abandoned the typical printed literature and short films and instead transported attendees to the very places it was making a difference via virtual reality. Six VR headsets immersed booth visitors in any of three 360-degree journeys, including a road trip to deliver shoes to schools in Peru and jump rope with the happy children on the playground. The enveloping visuals and heart-warming narration from Toms' giving partners and the youngsters benefitting from the program made for a riveting in-booth experience that resonated with scores of attendees.
Streamlined Small Booth
Fugu Fugu Press proved that sometimes less is more when it comes to exhibit design with its pint-sized booth at the 2016 National Stationery Show. Wooden panels, product samples, simple signage, and two red pillows on top of a minimalist bench combined to create this effective display. The streamlined aesthetic kept the focus squarely on the company's greeting cards, while the bench provided prospective clients a place to sit while chatting with staffers. What's more, the homemade seating gave the exhibitor a storage compartment that kept additional product literature, lead forms, and business cards out of view but within easy reach.
Pop-Up Back Wall
Graphics don't always have to be shipped to a show. At Boutique Design New York, Sentient Furniture Inc. crafted a unique back-wall graphic on the fly. Rather than pipe and drape, this show provides exhibitors with a clean slate of white foam-board material for back and side walls. The day before the show, Sentient staff simply painted an abstract design onto the exhibit's back wall and added a vinyl decal of the company's logo.
Cardboard Counter
While undeniably functional, most reception desks attract as much notice as aisle carpeting. But what if your desk could do double duty, also serving as an attention-grabbing element that relates to your brand? Amazon.com Inc. erected just such a piece of exhibitry for its booth at the 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. The company simply covered a run-of-the-mill reception desk with Amazon-branded shipping boxes, which had been flattened and taped together. Basic? Perhaps. On brand? Absolutely.
A Chair Affair
In-booth product displays are often designed to attract curious passersby and encourage them to enter the exhibit to speak with staffers and learn more. But many trade show attendees – and especially those at a design-focused show such as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair – prefer to peruse exhibitors' offerings in peace without engaging in a lengthy conversation or aggressive sales pitch. So to accommodate both groups, the Republic of Fritz Hansen created a simple display that facilitated both personal conversations and passive shopping. A selection of the company's chairs were lined up against a stark-white back wall like objets d'art. Meanwhile, unobtrusive shelving affixed to the booth's back wall above the furnishings held postcard-sized takeaways about each product. Curious prospects could approach staffers or grab a postcard (which featured the company's contact info and URL) and explore the firm's products on their own time – and their own terms.
Skull Candy
In their traditional form, lighting trusses are about as exciting as screwing in a light bulb. So to draw attention to its line of Cosmic Truss products at the Live Design International show in Las Vegas, German Light Products GmbH crafted a massive illuminated skull from its wares. Suspended over the exhibit space, the roughly 12-foot-long skull featured what appeared to be glowing red eyes and sharp teeth, which were fashioned from a mixture of Plexiglas panels and color-changing light fixtures. Throughout the show, the skeletal construction attracted attention from countless passersby and directed it straight at the company's truss products.
Sounding Board
Some products are more difficult to display than others. Take Nyne Multimedia Inc.'s Rebel wireless Bluetooth speakers, which the company wanted to show off at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show. Sure, a traditional display could spotlight the product's angular design and rubberized finish, but it would be unable to convey the Rebel's ability to be used while camping in the wilderness or surfing in the ocean. So to underscore the speaker's rugged, go-anywhere attributes, the company strapped four of them to a surfboard, which was propped up by two sawhorses. A large-format graphic depicting a man scaling a sheer cliff with his Bluetooth speaker in tow was positioned behind the adventurous vignette. The unexpected display drew infinitely more attention than a speaker atop a standard pedestal while also reinforcing the attributes of both the brand and the product.

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