The crew at SNEWS appreciates the creative thought and work that goes into designing an outstanding trade show booth. Continuing our BOB awards tradition, we perused the aisles of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2004 and selected the best of the best. This year's crop of winners showed inventiveness, interesting design and an emphasis on showmanship that sometimes took precedence over product displays. The awards came easy at this show as several companies arrived with new booths and some first-time exhibitors showed great creativity in a small amount of space.
Top BOB -- Hi-Tec Sports USA, Inc.
"Welcome to the new look of Hi-Tec," said the pleased woman at Hi-Tec's reception desk. She had reason to smile. Hi-Tec's new look and new booth is a winner. Its gray faux concrete walls and well-placed brand signage gave the company an updated image. Company spokesman Brett Weitl explained that the company's earlier booth was a makeshift one and that the new booth showcased Hi-Tec's extensive shoe line as well as its industrial brand, Magnum.
The shoe spinners lining both sides of the booth in front of writing tables garnered a lot of attention. They were rounded vertical towers of brushed steel about 8-feet tall with shoe platforms one on top of the other. From top to bottom, each shoe had its own space and was easily accessed by the sales force. "We finally built what we've always wanted," Weitl said.
Congratulations to Hi-Tec on being Top BOB Winter Market 2004.
Fun BOB -- Boreal
Working with a trailer park theme, the folks at Boreal enjoyed sitting back in their aluminum folding chairs by the picnic table on Astroturf and every so often retreating into the trailer for a little R&R and an occasional business meeting (oh, sure!).
The shiny Airstream trailer captured attention and brought the curious into the Boreal booth to see what was happening. The product seemed secondary to the theme, but when awarding a booth for promoting fun, it has to go to Boreal.
Crazy BOB -- Brunton
It's a little bit crazy to bring 50 tons of sand into the Salt Palace and dump it in a 600-foot box on the show floor but that's just what Brunton did. Brunton product was displayed in a small space behind the giant mound of sand being sculpted by Team Sandtastic of Sarasota, Fla. Team Sandtastic borrowed images it found in Rock & Ice and Canoe & Kayak magazines and recreated them in the sand.
The team worked on the sculptures the entire run of the show and when it was all over, the sand was gathered up, poured into dump trucks and hauled out. Kudos to Brunton for doing something crazy and different even though the emphasis was on sand and not product.
Most Improved BOB -- Leki
Let's face it, how interesting can you make poles look? Leki succeeded with its new booth and new ideas. The booth's semi-transparent corrugated plastic walls trimmed in wood looked techy and created a light and airy background for displays of the company's pole line. The curved walls defined the interior writing rooms and created an interesting exterior on which Leki hung informational graphic displays. An interesting point-of-purchase fixture featuring pole-handled pegs was positioned at the entrance. Good work, Leki, on creating a booth that worked so well with your products and showed them off in the best light.
Mini BOB -- Nomad
How do you show small items like adventure journals at a trade show and capture retailers' attention? Build a yurt (in two hours!). That's what Nomad owner Todd Hakanson did.
His red yurt booth was the perfect backdrop for displaying his line of adventure journals arranged against the back wall and highlighted by a track of low-voltage lighting. In addition to the product displays inside the yurt, a point-of-purchase fixture constructed of wood and metal stood out front to display the product and, yes, it is available to new Nomad dealers.
Display BOB -- Gates
The attraction of the Gates booth was two-fold. Positioned in front of the booth were two display "carts," each on casters looking somewhat like shipping containers on wheels. Each consisted of brushed metal combined with school bus yellow walls and lighted eye-level showcases spanning the length of the carts. Gloves and footwear were displayed inside the showcases in a carefully constructed "haphazard" arrangement. Topping off the carts were mountain-scape photos promoting an outdoor image. Yellow wood towers stood at the corners of the booth facing the main aisle and were merchandised simply with gloves and footwear resting on metal rods highlighted with good lighting that focused attention on them and brought them to life. While retailers can't necessarily duplicate the carts, they can replicate the arrangement, lighting, colors and textures of the Gates display. When awarding the Display BOB, we're always looking for ideas that can translate to retail.
Almost BOB -- Mad River Rocket
Jesse Whitney and Rennau Phillips drove to Salt Lake City from Vermont to show their snow-sports kneeboards at Winter Market. They also brought with them yards and yards of red velvet to construct their enchanting booth. The entire booth was framed with the red velvet curtains resembling a nomad tent you might see in an Arabian Nights movie. The curtains framing the booth entrance were tied back to reveal the interior where additional products were on display and kneeboarding videos played on a plasma screen. A bench and writing table completed the booth fixturing. The red velvet draping of the booth was eye-catching and created a sense of mystery causing retailers to stop, look and venture inside. That's just what a booth should do!
Almost BOB -- Water Girl
Bright tropical colors of blue and yellow attracted us to the Water Girl booth. The entrance to the booth was small and had the effect of creating a more intimate expanded environment inside. Interesting features inside included bamboo poles tied together to create a grid on which the line was shown and bookcases housing shells, framed photos, assorted dishware and objects. Redwood two-by-fours radiating from front to back and framed with wrought iron fancy work created a "roof" in the booth. The colonial tropics theme was well executed and resulted in Water Girl creating an enticing atmosphere. Almost all the elements of a successful booth could be found here -- color, interest, utility and lighting. What it lacked was product display and gracious staffing at the reception desk.