Trade show exhibitors often create magical environments to take you “out of the ordinary”—and sweep you away to another world. They can be filled with music, animals, adventure, or just plain fun.
Trade show exhibitors often ask why they should create a distinctive theme for their trade show display booths. There are at least three good reasons:
1. Themes set you apart from your competition.
2. Themes stimulate excitement and momentum for your staff.
3. Themes dramatically increase traffic to your trade show display.
Here’s a good example: The International Home Furnishing Market’s biannual trade show in 2005 was spread over 12 million square feet in 188 different buildings, with over 75,000 attendees. Magnussen Home Furnishing exhibitied at this giant trade show with the theme of Jazz Age opulence, featuring Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”—complete with high hats, narrow collars, white spats, and lots of dollars. They used pear-shaped penguins that looked like sophisticated men in tuxedos as a whimsical tie-in to their trade show theme of elegance. These real penguins were seen by thousands of visitors over 4 days in the 10-by-10, eye-level special habitat built into the trade show exhibit lobby.
Magnussen enhanced the penguin theme by having their male staff wear tuxedos, while female staff wore white blouses and either black skirts or black slacks. They also hired teenagers dressed as penguins to roam the spacious trade show floor to attract attendees to their trade show display. A Jazz-Age band played, and glamorous ballroom dancers showed off, pleasing and thrilling attendees at the dramatic 35,000-square-foot Magnussen booth. The jazzy results were a 20% increase in show visitors over the year before.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) chose the theme “Break Free” for the National Association of Broadcasters 2005 show. It hit the right cord for a market that wanted to do things differently and think beyond restraints. AMD had five hip actors dressed in business suits wearing 3D glasses spread the message of AMD on the trade show floor, in the lobby, and in the custom trade show booths of their partners. The cool actors gave out entry cards and 3D glasses to visitors, who got to enter a contest to win an AMD processor-powered laptop each day of the show.
What was their result? They exceeded their original goal of 1,500 visitors by 33%.
By having a theme for your company at your trade show display, you create excitement, focus, and sales. Your themed message becomes a mantra and a hypnotic magnet.