A Sweet Idea
The film "Forest Gump" famously starts on a park bench in Savannah, GA. So it's fitting that Downing Displays took advantage of that sweet history at the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association's HCEA Connect 2016, held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. A tensioned-fabric back wall in the 10-by-10-foot exhibit bore the phrase "Trade shows are like a box of chocolates... Your exhibit house shouldn't be." Below that tagline was an image of Tom Hanks sitting on a park bench from the famed 1994 film. But attendees' thematic introduction to the exhibit house didn't stop there. Staffers approached visitors in the aisle and asked them to play a short chocolate-themed matching game on a large touchscreen surface situated front and center in the booth. The game got participants talking, and staffers were able to segue into conversations about the exhibitor's offerings. Talk about a sweet idea.
How do you visibly communicate to trade show attendees that your company's baling presses can compact materials such as cardboard and plastic bottles into tight, easy-to-handle bundles? If you're disposal-logistics firm Strautmann Umwelttechnik GmbH, you simply use these bundles as the bases for multiple fixtures throughout your exhibit. Positioned along the aisles of Strautmann's island exhibit at EuroShop in Dusseldorf, Germany, the 3-by-3-foot cubes comprising flattened waste materials did triple duty as eye-catching traffic builders, budget-friendly product displays, and functional furniture.
The Artistic Process
Dupenny Illustration and Design, a U.K.-based maker of wall murals and custom wallpaper, as well as a creator of commercial illustration, managed to infuse its own artistic talents into its booth at the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair by creating an evolving back wall that kept attendees coming back to see the company's illustrators at work. While the side wall of the in-line booth featured samples of custom wallpaper bearing Dupenny's art, the stark white back wall bore little more than the company's logo, tagline, and social-media information during the opening hours of the show. However, as the four-day event wore on, a Dupenny staffer used the remaining white space as a massive canvas, sketching whatever his or her heart desired and piquing the interest of passersby, who often stopped, watched, and inquired about the artwork.
When your firm describes itself as a "multidisciplinary team led by computational systems biologists," and your product "tracks your physiology and, using bio-mathematical models, translates that into information that has the potential to fundamentally improve your and, in time, all human health," simple exhibit graphics just won't do. So rather than attempt to draw in booth visitors at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show with a deluge of details, LifeQ created an arresting, illuminated graphic that caught attendees' eyes just long enough for staffers to swoop in with plenty of technical information at the ready. Behind the silhouette of a man printed on semitransparent fabric and displayed along the booth's back wall ran a series of LEDs that turned the static graphic into a mesmerizing kinetic light show representing physiology and lending the booth a decidedly futuristic vibe.
To show hardware store owners how its products can make their customers lawn-care heroes, Sterling International Inc., the maker of Rescue insect traps, employed a series of creative comic-centric graphics in its exhibit at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. When attendees walked up to the booth, they saw an emerald green overhead banner with a cutout of a spandex-wearing superhero – clad in a fabric cape – perched above it. Meanwhile, 12 banner stands sprinkled around the exhibit echoed the theme, each introducing a different superhero alongside witty sayings such as "Biting flies, be gone!" and "Buzz off, beetles!" Albeit simple, the superhero-themed exhibit left a supersized impression on attendees.
Making a Splash
Showcasing a product's attributes is a priority for any exhibitor. But how do you demonstrate water-repellent qualities on the trade show floor? If you're J. Barbour and Sons Ltd., a U.K.-based apparel and outerwear manufacturer, you make it rain – literally. The firm placed a freestanding "water wall" fixture, complete with an umbrella and one of its cheery yellow raincoats, at the front of its booth at the Magic trade show in Las Vegas. The soothing sound of flowing water captured the attention of passersby, many of whom weren't shy about reaching in and splashing the coat themselves.
Hour by Hour
To illustrate how its American-made furnishings contribute to U.S. jobs, Kellex Corp. decided to do the math. The sofas and chairs inside the company's exhibit at the 2016 Hospitality Design Expo were embroidered with the number of hours American workers in its Hickory, NC, factory had spent constructing each piece of furniture. Various graphics around the exhibit explained how buying the company's furniture helps stimulate the state's economy, while throw pillows embroidered with "Thank You" conveyed the company's appreciation to clients and prospects who visited the booth. But Kellex didn't stop there. After attendees perused the company's wares, staffers invited them to partake in a photo activity in front of a backdrop that read "I support hour America. Do you?" In exchange for attendees' participation, staffers doled out branded medals with red, white, and blue lanyards. In total, the clever display and in-booth activity garnered precious minutes of showgoers' time.