On December 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, industry professionals gathered for IAEE’s annual Expo! Expo! Attendees at the event were able to learn about new ideas and latest technologies for the face-to-face meetings industry.
Among the events at Expo! Expo! the IAEE announced the debut of its public relations campaign, Click Here First, which is aligned to increase awareness about the long-term benefits of face-to-face exhibitions and events.
“I am thrilled by the support from hundreds of our colleagues and their organizations,” said Vinnie Polito, IAEE Chairman. “Never before, in IAEE’s 83-year history, has there been such a collaborative effort to achieve one goal. As a result, we are now well-positioned to launch and support a vital campaign that will benefit our own industry and the customers we serve.”
The three-year-long campaign will focus on communicating the strengths and relevance of face-to-face opportunities, increasing the favorable impression of events, compiling real stories about the power and uniqueness of tradeshows, differentiating tradeshows from other forms of engagement and leveraging new media and digital opportunities to expand reach and build an online presence.
“I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Public Relations Task Force led by Kimberly Hardcastle, Paige Cardwell and Nina Carrara, as well as my fellow directors on the board who were led by Visit Orlando’s President and CEO Gary Sain,” said Polito. “The generous contributions pledged as a result of these efforts will be invested carefully to meet IAEE members’ expectations.”
Another big event at Expo! Expo! was this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Michio Kaku, who has been featured on the Discovery Channel, History Channel and MSNBC. As a co-founder of string field theory, Kaku discussed the basic human instinct to unite face-to-face and learn, buy, sell and grow.
“Even though technology is making leaps forward, good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings will always be the most effective way to get your message out,” said Kaku. “There’s no replacement for that one-on-one contact.”
The session also honored the 208 graduates of the 2011 CEM Learning Program and concluded with showgirls leading the way to the Expo! Expo! show hall.
On the show floor, attendees were putting face-to-face meeting practices to good use. Exhibiting companies included many convention and visitors bureaus, several tradeshow solutions providers and even a few associations.
Among those exhibiting on the show floor was Freeman, who won IAEE’s “Best on the Show Floor” award. IAEE selected Freeman’s new “Your Freeman Experience” for the best large exhibit category.
The interactive exhibit showcased Freeman’s creative, audio/visual and fabrication teams. The concept was developed to spotlight Freeman’s key offerings including strategy, creative, innovation and logistics, and to demonstrate Freeman’s fully-integrated experiential marketing solutions.
“While we used leading edge technology, we wanted to create points of engagement that focused on all the senses including sight, sound, touch, smell and taste,” said Tom Yurkin, Freeman’s creative director. “We believe this type of personalized experience represents the next generation of face-to-face experiential marketing.”
Three 32-inch touch screens and seven hanging iPads encouraged visitors to change the color and sounds of the exhibit. Nearly two dozen cone-shaped structures were rigged above the open floor plan to create light installation with colors changing by touch screen. Visitors chose from blue, green, purple or orange and selected from a range of music options including jazz, classical, hip-hop or rock-n-roll. Various flavored candy treats in different colors complemented the sensory experience.
Another booth that attracted attention was the Global Spectrum exhibit. Prior to the show, Global Spectrum sent out mailers with Global Spectrum poker chips affixed to them to promote the booth and activities going on within. The mailer said “Global Spectrum Always Deals a Winning Hand – Bring this poker chip to the booth to be entered for a chance to win an iPad2!”
“We really wanted to maximize our time at the event,” said Shura Garnett, regional vice president for Global Spectrum. “Simply relying on foot traffic to pass by and enter your booth sometimes isn’t enough when you are on a large floor with hundreds of exhibitors, so we needed something that would attract them to us.”
Visitors to the booth were welcomed with a short game of black jack, whereby winners were entered to win an iPad2. In the meantime, they were able to speak to Global Spectrum representatives about their events and potential fits in one or more of their Convention Centers.
“We themed our booth Vegas-style with a black jack table and used the chips to encourage people to come and gamble,” said Garnett. “The idea was that now since you have something tangible in your hand, you have a reason to visit the booth and engage.”
Overall, IAEE Expo! Expo! featured 37,600 net square feet of exhibit space with over 260 exhibitors and 2,200 attendees. Show goers had 11 educational tracks with over 130 speakers and 50 sessions to choose from.
Next year’s Expo! Expo! is to be held December 4-6, 2012, in