Saturday, November 1, 2008

Booth attractions: Using whatever form

Having a "draw" at your exhibit is an important part of the lead-gathering process. Whether it's a serious presentation or a live-action dance team or entertainer, it's all about the lead--and the attention on the show floor.

The Buzz.

At the recent NACS show in Chicago, having a celebrity or key figure seemed to be the way to go. With MM/Mars and other NASCAR sponsors in the hall, they leaned on their relationship with their sponsored driver. Now, I've never met Kyle Busch in person, but I understand this cutout is near life size. Visitors to the booth shot photos of (and with) the cardboard Kyle and, with the other icons in the both (the MM characters, either in walkaround suits or plastic replicas), drew attention to the brand.

Other celebs and public figures made the scene, too. Once exhibitor built their whole exhibit around the election. The candy company did a mock vote with candy flavors and themed the entire booth and interaction at their exhibit around the election and the two major party candidates. No word on who won this vote, but the cutouts were proportional and a good attention-getter for a small (10x10) exhibitor. I imagine they did pres-show mailings and post-show followup using the theme.

Still others used live action icons. The jerky company brought out Bigfoot, both in carboard and costumed form. You could get a still photo with the real guy or you could pose with the cutout. Videos from their TV ad campaign played in the booth.

Chiquita Bananas did wonders with a small island booth. Simple display racks of fresh bananas in a structure keyed to their brand and colors was the backdrop. An actress/model, dressed as the 1960s TV ad icon worked in the booth, posing for photos with visitors and stocking fruit. The model was also well-versed and armed with the verbal messages that the Chiquita people wanted conveyed to their C-store audience. that's pervasive branding.

Still others relied on our memories and sense of fun. The Icee Bear, Myley Cyrus and the Blues Brothers all made appearances. Even the Chester's Chicken Rooster was walking the aisles. Free food samples and interactive characters brought attention to a myraid of brands in a busy space. But it seemed to work for them. And many of them did it right--integrating brand and message in a fun, memorable way. But always, always tie it to the gathering of leads and follow up.

Lesson Learned: integrate your brand message in a fun, memorable way and the prospect will remember you.


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