Magazine article Marketing

More Bang for Your Bucks

Magazine article Marketing

More Bang for Your Bucks

Article excerpt

Size and opulence won't always win when it comes to effective exhibits, writes Robin Cobb. Targeting and impact count for even more

If there was a common theme to last year's Marketing Exhibition Effectiveness Awards (sponsored by the dmg Exhibition Group), it was pure stop-'em-in-the-aisles impact, designed to draw in the audience and underline a marketing message.

Such extravaganzas do not come cheap and it was the creations for big budget clients which scooped most of the top awards.

Two leading agencies emerged with honours virtually even: Imagination and HP:ICM, although it was Imagination's work for Ford, Belgium at the Brussels Motor Show that took the supreme gold. Occupying an impressive 4000 square metres, it was memorable for a 'walk-through experience', introducing the theme 'The Nature of Safety'.

Visitors entered through short tunnels, where monitors displayed natural earth settings, accompanied by sound effects. From there, they were drawn into a tropical rainforest (representing comfort and security), a stark desert (danger) and cool ocean (clarity, harmony and the ability to take control). These sensory experiences were achieved using 'soundscapes', lighting, 3-D effects, textured floors, projection and video.

Adrian Caddy, creative director of Imagination, explains: "We convinced the client we could treat the audience with respect for their intellect, leaving them to make assumptions about the products without having to point them out literally. We took them on a journey, using sophisticated, esoteric and artistic installation techniques."

For the Nokia stand at Telecom 95 in Geneva, which took a trio of awards, HP:ICM scattered the stand with sculptures of people using Nokia equipment in real-life situations. The initial crowd-puller was a giant figure, four times life-size, continually raising and lowering a telephone on the stand's balcony.

This all came about through brainstorming sessions. Says HP:ICM managing director Lois Jacobs: "We kept thinking about the ubiquity of Nokia mobile phones, then we started imagining interesting incidents where you would wish to use them. The whole process is trying to establish, as an ad agency would, what is the absolute key message and then finding a way to visualise it."

Another pair of awards (a first and a highly commended) came from the attention-grabber provided by HP:ICM for Whirlpool at Domotechnica '95 in Cologne, where six robotically controlled video monitors appeared to interact with each other with what seemed like human movements.

They tirelessly produced ten-minute shows in German, English, French and Italian, repeated every 15 minutes. …

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