Special Events

Interactive exhibits prove irresistible to exhibition attendees

The dazzle of high-tech? Or the warmth of high-touch? When it comes to making show spectators bond with a brand, both strategies succeed. In our August cover story, Special Events Magazine looks at five case studies that show intriguing approaches to exhibit interactivity.

GOT GAME?

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, drew 60,000 industry professionals to Los Angeles in May for the latest in interactive entertainment. And Sony Computer Europe Entertainment wanted to make a big splash at the big show as it unveiled 27 new software titles and games for the PlayStation platform to the European trade and press.

London-based Exposure got into the game, creating a spectacular playground where guests were immersed in the gaming experience. Guests entered the room through a tunnel to find an exuberant environment with stylish lounge areas for socializing, gaming and conducting meetings. Barco's MiPix LED grids created graphic patterns that tracked around the walls, an effect amplified by mirrors. "Neon half shapes--taken from the PlayStation controller--rested against the mirror wall," says Alison Berkani, Exposure's production director. "So the end result was a whole PlayStation shape cutting into the mirror panel." Keeping things moving were showy "harajuku girls" demonstrating the "TalkMan" game while "Tarzan" and "Jane" explained the fine points of "Buzz: Jungle Party."

Also a player at E3, mobile communications giant Nokia wanted to reach a broader audience for its N-Gage handsets, says Jennifer Walters, games marketing manager for Nokia Multimedia in San Francisco. Working with Thorofare, N.J.-based exhibit designer Art Guild, Nokia made a mark in the customary E3 mayhem with a rule-breaking booth.

To appeal to an audience beyond the traditional teen-boy gamer, the booth featured a cheerful orange and white color scheme along with sleek white sofas, banks of N-Gage handsets and Nokia smartphones, and a DJ spinning everything from hip hop to Frank Sinatra. Making a sly statement, six silent water-mist FogScreens displayed changing projections of people playing mobile games. "So much of mobile gaming is just to pick up the handset and play, and we wanted to give that opportunity to attendees," Walters says.

A MOVING EXPERIENCE

At Ford Motor Co.'s display at the North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit in January, the cars may have been standing still. But the visitors weren't.

The Imagination Group, based in London, positioned high-definition plasma "iScreens" next to each model in Ford's Mercury line. Grabbing hold of the screen, visitors rotated it 360 degrees by walking around it. "The interaction is a lot more physical than just a touch screen or mouse," notes Imagination media group chief Damian Ferrar. The screen shared not just technical information about the cars but also lifestyle imagery.

"All the interactive experiences we create ultimately result in experiences which engage, excite and stimulate consumers and ultimately create lasting bonds between consumers and brands," Ferrar says. As for his client's reaction to the exhibit: "They were over the moon with the interactives."

See the complete story in the August issue of Special Events.

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