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Numerous face-to-face marketers are faced with the same perplexing challenge: showcasing a good or service that is either intangible (like a tiny microprocessor) or solves a difficult-to-measure medical condition, like arthritis. Here are three exhibitor examples who were each tasked with coming up with a trio of inventive, if not downright brilliant, methods to display the unshowable.

Pitch Perfect

There isn’t much of a distinction between the sound of a church bell and a chainsaw for roughly 15% of Americans. This is due to the fact that 48 million people have some degree of hearing loss. Furthermore, their alternatives were expensive and constrained until this year: A visit to a doctor is necessary in order to receive a hearing aid, which can cost up to $4,000 on average. However, the Food and Drug Administration’s decision on over-the-counter hearing aids took effect in late 2022. That decision changed everything since it made it possible for consumers to buy one of the devices without a prescription, a physical examination, or a professional fitting.

The decision was a good idea for individuals who have hearing loss. However, it presented a significant opportunity as well as a difficulty for organisations like Eargo Inc. The hearing aid firm, which was established in 2010, intended to present at the 2023 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to introduce the release of its newest product, the Eargo 7. With 115,000 people attending the event this year, Eargo has the chance to increase consumer knowledge of the business. Yet how? How could it show how silence felt and what a difference its technology might make?

The issue Eargo faced was not exceptional. The business claims that other hearing aid producers at CES only resorted to exhibiting their devices like a row of cabinet pulls at a Home Depot; Eargo capitalised on competitors’ tone-deaf strategy by developing an exhibit that provided a genuine experience and enhanced the category.

The business constructed a 23-foot-long tube, or “auditory canal,” within its 1,800-square-foot booth. The tunnel, which was built by Voxx Exhibits LLC out of aluminium frames and hard panels of glossy white Dibond and acrylic, included three hearing stations, each of which had two 60-inch Samsung Smart TV displays mounted vertically. To improve traffic flow and prevent sound from travelling from one area to another, each hearing station was placed 3.5 feet apart from the others.

When visitors entered the tunnel and moved in front of any one of the hearing stations, a motion detector activated, turning on LED lights built into the wall of the area they were in. For each of the stations, a monitor simultaneously showed one of three scenarios: spending time outside, going to social events, or eating in a restaurant.

This was a crucial time. With and without its hearing aids, Eargo intended to demonstrate the striking impact its technology might make in these typical circumstances. Normally, you may infer that all you have to do to understand the notion is adjust the sound on the video loop. But this isn’t the case here. The CES environment is a tidal wave of noise that drowns attendees in a clamour and contaminates the desired sound levels for visitors. Eargo employed speakers above the stations and directional sound domes that concentrated the various audio levels of each film like a laser beam to cancel out the background noise.

In essence, this would enclose participants like a cocoon, isolating them from the commotion of CES and its various sound levels.

Each visitor came to the hearing booths in turn, going through each of the three available scenarios. The visitors could actually experience how hearing loss might affect their daily lives and how an Eargo hearing aid could restore what not so long ago would have been permanently lost thanks to the directed sound, which effectively muffled the show floor commotion and played the scenarios’ sounds at various volumes and distortions (think muffled speech and unclear consonants). One of the stations, for instance, demonstrated how hard it is for people with hearing loss to follow discussions at a table in a noisy restaurant.

Attendees who were persuaded by the demonstration that they could be losing out on a tapestry of sound might test their hearing in one of two hearing pods before leaving the booth. They may evaluate their auditory ability using a set of headphones and a Microsoft tablet with clear written instructions once they entered the sound-damped pod and locked the door. It was obvious that Eargo’s well crafted marketing message was coming across loud and clear once visitors had the chance to compare the demo’s dramatic before-and-after sound effects and then take the test.

 A Kick-Ash Booth

Some things can’t be experienced directly. Others shouldn’t be experienced. Not if you want to live, that is. That was the dilemma facing Chevron Products Co., which wanted to exhibit Delo 600 at the 2020 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition (TMC). Modern diesel engines’ emission controls are protected from contamination by the ultra-low ash, heavy-duty diesel engine oil. This specific characteristic is a key selling feature and differentiator for the product: Contrarily, the majority of engine oil additives include a significant amount of metallic ash, which builds up inside a diesel engine’s particulate filter (DPF) and eventually stops it. The DPF is responsible for removing a variety of hazardous substances from a vehicle’s exhaust, including 90% of the carbon monoxide (CO) present in it.

Despite its significance, Chevron marketers were aware that the filtering process frequently slips consumers’ attention and is something they only consider when there is an issue.

However, demonstrating the effectiveness of the Delo 600 would also require exposing the audience to the DPF, which is equivalent to breathing a toxic dump. Therefore, even if you were wearing a hazmat onesie, you still wouldn’t want to touch the DPF with a 10-foot pole. Not to mention that it has an interior temperature of around 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to turn a block of lead into a boiling puddle.

Instead, the business came up with a model solution using a model, as it should be. A filter replica that was built by Chevron and its display designer, Deckel & Moneypenny Inc., was 10 times larger than the real thing. Both a curious traffic booster and a psychological setting for the lube’s explanation would result from this. From cheese blocks that weigh more than two adult African elephants to stoves the size of cathedrals, oversized objects in exhibitions produce a gravitational force that may even astonish Newton. Attendees are psychologically overpowered by the magnitude and become susceptible to messaging, in this example, how Delo 600 can stop the DPF from becoming a deadly weapon.

The 9 by 9 by 12 foot sculpture, which resembled a doorway to another dimension, was constructed of an aluminium frame and covered in printed PVC panels. The scalding interior temperature of the DPF was mirrored in its carrot-colored hue. Visitors entered the stylised DPF, and as they moved, a movie describing the DPF’s purpose and operation began to play. Following the conclusion of the film, it directed viewers to a nearby second display where they could observe how metallic ash accumulates inside the DPF and obstructs airflow and how Delo 600 avoids that catastrophe.

Perhaps some exhibitors resorted to free-standing or wall-mounted graphics. The information on monitors within the enormous filter that held guests “captive” highlighted how, in the absence of Delo 600, the sludge would build up in it like plaque filling an artery. However, by employing a supersized model, Chevron made visualising the DPF attractive. The company’s strategy was so successful that it has been using the model DPF at other events for the past few years.

You Auto Know

Automakers could readily demonstrate automobiles at auto shows by building up tracks and putting the cutting-edge mode of transportation through its paces back when vehicles were the hottest new horse-and-buggy disruptive technology of the day. However, when Eaton Corp., a large power management business, intended to position itself as a world leader in car electrification at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it had to demonstrate a process that was difficult to demonstrate and was not visible to the human eye. After all, we often brush off the fact that electricity is invisible and take it for granted since it is so ubiquitous.

To communicate Eaton’s story at the enormous electronics show, the firm developed and built a life-size 7 by 13-foot automobile replica with the assistance of Sparks Marketing LLC. such that people would immediately recognise the effigy as an automobile, of course, but one of no particular brand, it was cleverly created such that the vehicle was not any recognisable model but was merely a stripped-down wireframe one. By doing this, audiences who may otherwise be entranced by the muscular silhouette of a Tesla or a Lamborghini would instead concentrate on the method Eaton was demonstrating. The wireframe also has the advantage of not having external automobile parts that would wind up obstructing spectators’ views.

The two-toned fake car’s bottom body was painted black, while the top frame was coloured pearl white, and then it was clear coated to give it a hyperreal aspect. It was shown in Eaton’s 30-by-50-foot booth with LED downlighting on a raised laminated platform. On the dais, two 55-inch touchscreens were joined together to form a single, sizable monitor with three modes: charging, operating, and exporting electricity. By selecting one of these modes, components within the automobile would light up using LED lighting strips, illuminating the wire pathways that carried AC and DC electricity from the Eaton charger. Each mode also led visitors to a screen with featured products and information specific to a given environment.

Heavy traffic entered Eaton’s booth thanks to the minimalist car’s aesthetic appeal, and kinetic lighting added to the interactive touchscreen’s attractiveness. A hypothetical notion was converted into a tangible demonstration by the demo, which propelled Eaton forward and doubled its engagement goal and quadrupled its aim for social media impressions. When it comes to demonstrating how it aids in the electrification of automobiles, Eaton had a better idea—a play on Ford Motor Co.’s well-known phrase.

Related: See How Some Auto Brands Took Their Events Off the Usual Path

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