Trade Show TalesBlog

Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Even For Ladies

February 27th, 2014 1 COMMENT

A product description sign at EuroShop. Honestly, I half expected to see Ron Burgundy standing in the booth pitching the product.

“You know I love the ladies, but when it comes to most lightboxes . . . ”

What’s the Expiration Date of Your Trade Show Display? 20 Clues.

December 10th, 2013 12 COMMENTS

Expired Trade Show Display

Trade show displays, like yogurt and milk, have expiration dates. While it may not be printed on the box, it’s not hard to spot one that’s starting to spoil. Here are 20 Clues that it’s time to buy a new exhibit.

You Know It’s Starting to Smell When . . .

1. Graphics are attached with Velcro to a fabric backwall. While that may be OK for a FFA display at the county fair, it’s no longer acceptable at a professional trade show.

2. I&D won’t touch your property without hazardous duty pay. When show labor has to don hazmat suits before starting an install, that’s not a good sign.

3. Duct tape is an important design element. And you’re excited it now comes in designer colors — Baja Blue and Desert Sunset Yellow.

4. When your booth was purchased, a quarter could transform your hotel bed into Vibrating Magic Fingers. Ahhhhhh!

5. Attendees compliment the “vintage” theme of your booth and graphics. “Very retro!”

6. You decide to re-print your graphics and hand the graphic designer a floppy disk.

7. There are more “just in case” parts than actual display parts.

8. The shipping labels have added 50 pounds to the weight.

9. You lust over the two $99 banner stands in the adjacent booth.

10. The No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty has expired.

11. It smells like the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Even Fabreze can’t kill that odor.

12. You found your distributor by flipping through the Yellow Pages of the phone book.

13. Your storage costs have exceeded your purchase price by a factor of 10.

14. Your graphics have a “Happy Days” theme, and the Fonz is still your unofficial spokesperson. “Ayyyyyyy!”

15. Someone tagged your crate with the Rolling Stones tongue graphic (and you think that’s cool).

16. It folds and weighs more than an AMC Gremlin.

17. Children flee in terror as if they’ve just seen a circus clown. 

18. Your competitors gush over your booth . . . . “Don’t Change a Thing! Seriously, Not a Single Thing!”

19. You found a “Win a Free Palm Pilot” Promotional Flyer in the case.

20. Your boss says, “By golly, it was good enough for Old Joe, bless his heart and God rest his soul.”

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, put your display in the compost bin.

How do you determine the expiration date of a trade show display? Please share. ;-)

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

10 Reasons to Love June and July in the Exhibit Biz

June 3rd, 2013 1 COMMENT

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Everyone knows the trade show biz is cyclical. It’s busy in August, September, and October. November is a snoozer. December is always a gamble. Then comes January, February, March, and April when all hell breaks loose. And just when you can’t possibly work any harder or sleep any less, it’s late May.

Suddenly, no one calls. No one faxes. Your morning emails are from someone in Russia promising you, well, something 6 inches bigger.

You have a choice. You can panic, tell co-workers the “sky is falling,” and spend the day smoking Lucky Strike heaters for the next two months. Or, you can embrace the freedom of the summer doldrums. I choose the latter.

So take a moment and forget the smell of propane exhaust and B.O. from the trade show floor. Forget the navy blue logo that was supposed to be printed in vibrant magenta. And try to forget  your 90-120 day Accounts Receivable report.

10 Reasons to Love June and July:

  1. 40 Hour Week. It’s not really a vacation, but let’s face it, you wouldn’t know a real vacation if it smacked you in the forehead like a Moscone drayage bill.
  2. Quick Ships. “Need your display to ship in 7 days instead of 10? No problem!”
  3. Brillo Pad. The annual spring cleaning of your computer keyboard and mouse.
  4. Pretty Picture. Trade show graphics always look better in sunlight. Add a warm gentle breeze and it’s just about perfect.
  5. Getting to Know You. Every order has a name, a face, a personality, and a story.
  6. Social Studies. More time to explore social networking. Join 20 MORE exhibit-related groups in LinkedIn. Then start a Pinterest site where you share adorable photos of your dog Wiggles and your cat Smoochie.
  7. Free Hula Hoop. Suddenly, no marketing promotion is considered too wacky.
  8. Refill Please. A break from lunches from a plastic bag and noon conference calls.
  9. Website Revisions. It’s time. Your home page has a photo of you at TS2.
  10. E2MA Red Diamond Congress. This year it’s in Chicago from July 30 to August 1. If you haven’t been, you should. It’s not a trade show. It’s a conference where you connect with industry colleagues, trade show managers, and LEARN.  I’ll be there.

The Red Diamond Congress (RDC) is the annual conference of the E2MA. The RDC attracts more than 200 of the top corporate exhibitors and event managers with six and seven-figure annual budgets from throughout the U.S. The draw for these buyers is more than 45 seminars and general sessions devoted to the urgent issues that drive exhibit marketing today. The Red Diamond Congress also offers strategic level insights into what senior level event managers should do to optimize their event production for maximum business value.

Get some sun while you can. You’ll need the Vitamin D. There’s a good chance you won’t see much sunlight for the next nine months.

Please share your reasons you love the trade show business during the summer. After all, you probably have a little time on your hands right now. ;)

–Mel White

http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com
Classic Exhibits Network (LinkedIn)


 

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

January 31st, 2013 23 COMMENTS
What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

What Not to Wear (at a Trade Show)

No blog post over the past three years has gotten more hits on Google or more comments than this one. In fact, it’s not even close. We’re not shy about recycling, even when it comes to content. Enjoy.

I’m no fashion expert. The yellow sweater I wear all winter is a dead giveaway. But you don’t have to be a member of the fashion police to spot these faux pas. Wear what you want if you’re an attendee, but as an exhibitor, you may want to consider these suggestions.

Men

  • New Shoes – Who hasn’t made this mistake and regretted it? After all, you want to look your best so you purchase new shoes. They look great, but they hurt like hell after Day 1. By Day 3, your blisters have blisters. Shoe Rule #2 – Take a little initiative sport and shine those puppies. Or at least get them shined at the airport while you’re waiting for your plane. It’s cheap even with a generous tip. Shoe Rule #3 – The belt is supposed to match the shoes guys! A brown belt with black shoes? Your mother would be appalled.
  • Golf Clothing – Here’s the easy way to decide on golf clothing. If it looks great on the golf course, it looks silly at a trade show. I don’t care if it’s the latest high-tech, super-duper sweat-wicking material. It’s still golf clothing. Now there are exceptions to every rule, such as a sports-related show, but in general, just remember there’s a reason why Fortune 500 executives don’t wear golf shirts and slacks to negotiate multi-million dollar deals.
  • Slacks — If your pants have a drawstring and elastic ankle cuffs, DON”T WEAR THEM. You can pretend they’re fashion fleece or casual Sansabelt pants all you want. Everyone else knows they’re sweats.
  • Slacks (cont.) – We all pretend we haven’t gained weight. But we have. Don’t wait until 7 am on the first day of the show to discover your pants don’t fit or they have that telltale “V” pucker between the waist and zipper. Unless I missed something important in Biology class, blood flow is important.

Women

  • Shoes – For some reason, which I’ll never fully understand, women love to punish themselves. Even more than men, they wear new shoes to the show, and then do the unthinkable by wearing high heels with pointy toes. Ladies, and I say this with all seriousness, you’re beautiful. High heel shoes do not make you more beautiful. If you are angling for a freak with a high heal foot fetish, take out a personal ad (SWF seeks MHHFFF).
  • Pantyhose – Another medieval torture device invented to punish women.
  • Perfume/CologneDo you remember the dirt cloud that surrounded Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon? Some women (and some men) wear the fragrance equivalent by dousing themselves in perfume. Perfume should be alluring, not painful. Here’s a tip for applying the proper amount:  rub on only one free sample from the magazine.
  • Undies – Let’s just say that if you feel the need to make “adjustments” more than twice a day, you are probably wearing the wrong underwear.
  • Earrings – I’m going to catch some heat on this one. Let me be clear. Earrings are fine, but if your ears look like a Claire’s Accessories rack, you may want to remove 6-8 pairs. Lips, tongue, nose, eyebrow, and skull piercings are a matter of personal preference, corporate policy, and cult affiliation.
  • Pockets – Just the opposite actually. Men always have pockets. As an exhibitor, you need pockets for business cards, pens, trinkets, breath mints, etc. I’m not talking about a safari jacket with 37 pockets, but a dress jacket or skirt with two pockets will make your life much easier in the booth.

My sincere thanks to the fashion forward exhibitors for their suggestions, some of which cannot be printed without an R or X rating. Suffice to say that the term “cleavage” was a contentious topic between men and women.

What did we miss? Add your “What Not to Wear” suggestions and comments .

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

Additional Articles:

What Smells? The Top 10 Trade Show Odors
Love on Aisle #600 — Trade Shows and Events
Trade Shows as First Dates

Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.


 

What Smells? The Top 11 Trade Show Odors

August 8th, 2012 1 COMMENT
What Smells? Pleasant and Unpleasant Tradeshow Odors

What Smells? Pleasant and Unpleasant Trade Show Odors

Like me, you probably attend two, three, or 30 trade shows every year. Trade shows are mesmerizing, not only for the creativity but also for the visual and auditory over stimulation. The larger the show, the more the sensory overload. It can be exhausting, but for most of us, it’s exhilarating for those two or three days.

It’s tempting to focus on the sights and sounds, but trade shows are about other senses as well, such as taste, touch, and smell. We don’t often think about the familiar “smells” of trade shows, but there are many, which we all recognize as both pleasant and unpleasant. Indulge me for a minute as I explore the olfactory sensations common to most trade shows and events. In other words, what stinks and what doesn’t.

The Top 11 Trade Show Odors:

  1. B.O.: You knew this would be on the list. Go ahead, call me a brainwashed, overly-sanitize consumer of the antiperspirant consortium. I accept that label. But I don’t think I’m alone in being repelled by the acidic pungency of B.O. I can deal with mild, slightly sour B.O. but the clingy stench that leaps from the B.O.’er to your clothing in milli-seconds is totally unacceptable.
  2. Peppermint: Mints are the 6th food group at trade shows. They are everywhere from standard star mints to licorice mints and from packaged promotional mints to over-the-counter mints. Thank goodness for mints. I am especially thankful for Altoids, the nuclear bomb of mints. One Altoids has the power to create a nearly impenetrable minty force field (with one exception – see #10).
  3. Hangover:This smell varies from person to person. On a scale of 1-10, with one being OK and ten being gross, here are three examples:
    • #1 – Musky. This person got home late, had a few too many drinks, and may have been in a smoky bar.
    • #5 – Vodka sweats. Not only is alcohol still in their bloodstream, but they are perspiring booze. Whether you like it or not, you’re sharing every fancy martini they had last night . . . but with a hint of salt.
    • #10 – Vomit (mingled with the above). Enough said.
  4. Propane Fumes: Most forklifts and hi-lifts at convention halls use propane as fuel. The smell isn’t necessarily offensive, particularly if it’s only momentary. It’s the combination of the smell and the heat from the exhaust at a summer show which can be overwhelming. I know they make electric forklifts. With all due respect to Hank Hill and the Strickland Propane Co, I prefer electricity.
  5. Windex: This smell varies depending on the brand and the cleanser, but the unmistakable aroma of cleaning solvents permeates every show hall when the doors officially open. If you’re a germaphobe, it’s the equivalent of crack cocaine.
  6. Fresh Baked Cookies: Fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies have become a trade show staple for many exhibitors. It’s a smart idea, but you have to be willing to feed not only prospective customers but also every other exhibitor within a 500 ft. radius Just writing about it makes me want to drive to the mall and purchase a half-dozen cookies at Mrs. Fields. Yum! (ditto — popcorn)
  7. Men’s Cologne/Women’s Perfume: Before anyone corrects me, I know there is some hoity-toity difference between cologne and perfume, but I’m lumping them together anyway. Personally I don’t mind the scent of cologne/perfume, but I emphasize “scent.” It should be subtle. Recall my earlier observation about B.O. This applies to perfume and cologne as well. If your cologne causes someone to visibly wince in pain, then you may want to scale it back a gallon or two.
  8. Feet: Your feet. Not others. Most of us are desk jockeys. We’re not accustomed to walking the show floor or standing for hours. We’re weak. I’m not saying your feet stink, but your may want to add a little Industrial Strength Odor Eaters to your shoes before and after the show. And don’t even think about wearing those socks more than once. Show some mercy.
  9. Carpet and Visqueen Vapors: Visqueen is the plastic covering used to protect carpet from general abuse and tire marks during installation. Both carpet and visqueen give off vapors. New carpet in particular can be vapor intensive. Some folks love that smell. Then again, some folks love the smell of gasoline. I don’t get it frankly.
  10. Bad Breath: Yikes. Combine alcohol, coffee, late nights, and a travel toothbrush and you have the perfect petri dish for bad breath. Mints help to mask the odor, but even mints can’t subdue halitosis that’s become a living, breathing alien organism. With family, you can hand them dental floss, a toothbrush, and Listerine, but with colleagues and strangers you pretty much have to gut it out. I once had a colleague hand a customer three Certs and then smile. Seriously. I’m not that brazen.
  11. Desperation. Nothing smells worse than the exhibitor who leaves all the planning for the plane ride. No pre-show marketing. No review of the graphics. Incomplete forms faxed two days before the show. No scheduled meetings with clients. Four days later, the show is about to end, and there aren’t enough leads to fill a shot glass. If they are honest, they’ll regroup and do better job next time. If not, they’ll do what every lazy, worthless, sad-sack exhibitor does . . . blame it on the show and the ineffectiveness of trade show marketing. Now that stinks!

No doubt, I’ve missed some obvious trade show smells. I encourage you to share your smells . . . that didn’t come out quite right. Let’s give it one more try . . . I invited you to share your observations and stories about smells. What odors do you associate with trade shows. The Good. The Bad. The Really Ugly.

Let the comments begin . . . .

–Mel White
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite
mel@classicexhibits.com

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Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions and engineered aluminum extrusions (ClassicMODUL). Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.