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fixing snafus
illustration: Regan Dunnick
Barrel Band-Aid
Our client was frantically trying to connect a projector to a wall-attached mount. Clearly, however, it was like fitting a square peg into a round hole; there was no way it was going to work.
Plan A
When old man Murphy rears his ugly head on the trade show floor, we often look to sources outside the show floor for a solution. But sometimes the fix is right there in front of us.

This maxim was driven home for me at the International Manufacturing Technology Show. My company had several clients at the show, including a machinery-production firm for which we'd produced an in-booth video presentation. So I was on site at the Chicago event, along with my colleague Jason Verenski, to make sure everything worked as planned.

By roughly 12 p.m. the day before the show opened, we'd made the rounds to all of the clients except one. As I approached the last client's space, which happened to be the one for which we'd produced the video, I expected to simply tick this exhibitor off my list. But when I stepped foot into the booth, I immediately noticed that something was wrong.

The client had planned to deploy a projector for showing the video, and I saw he was frantically trying to connect the projector to a wall-attached mount. Clearly, it was like fitting a square peg into a round hole; there was no way it was going to work. And without the projector mount, he had a beautiful video on a lovely screen – that would have to sit on the floor. The client looked at me pleadingly before he gave up and came my way. Providing mounts wasn't exactly my forte, but Jason and I took some measurements and happily agreed to help him find a suitable solution at a price his meager budget could stomach.


Plan B
Initially, we thought about calling the client's exhibit house to see if reps could craft a suitable podium and ship it to the show. But soon we realized that the cost of custom fabrication, shipping, and drayage would break the budget for sure. Show services didn't really have any appropriate rentals, and even the "make do" solutions were far beyond what the exhibitor hoped to spend.

As we sat down to brainstorm, the solution suddenly hit me – in a forest-through-the-trees experience. We were standing in the middle of a show that was all about machinery, where things like massive barrels typically used for oil or grease were used as product displays. So I whipped out my measuring tape, and sure enough, a simple oil barrel was the perfect height and width for our projector.

With very little cajoling, I was able to borrow a barrel from a nearby exhibitor. Then I scoured the floor for materials I could use to make it more presentation worthy. Ultimately, I scored a plethora of white carpet scraps, which I wrapped around the barrel and secured in the back with carpet tape. I cut a round piece of white carpet for the top, and voila – instant projector stand.

We rolled the completed carpet-covered pedestal into place, where it effectively displayed the projector throughout the show. It just goes to show that sometimes solutions are right in front of you. You just need to calm down – and look around – long enough to actually see them.


— Randy Harju, president, 3DL Design Inc., Kenosha, WI


TELL US A STORY
Send your Plan B exhibiting experiences to Linda Armstrong, larmstrong@exhibitormagazine.com.

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