Best Stand Awards
So what makes and award winning stand?
We are pleased to have won awards for the design and build of stands at a variety of events over the years. The following articles highlight some of the stands we have won awards for, telling the story of 10 award winning projects and recalling just what it was that made these stands so successful.
Best Stand Award for Norwich Union Group
Modern Homes was the Scottish equivalent of the Ideal Home Exhibition which took place each year at Earls Court in London. By 1992 we were one of Norwich Union’s preferred suppliers of event services and provided pretty much all their exhibition requirements throughout the UK. Having already designed and built a customised modular exhibition stand for group-wide use we were briefed to deliver a stand project to promote a variety of products at the Scottish show to support brokers and generally promote Norwich Union as an insurer to the public.
The general design of the stand was very corporate in its appearance as it attended consumer and industry events alike. Being a consumer event the stand needed more of an intimate connection to appeal to the public so we chose to feature travel insurance. We set about creating a beach scene on the front corner of the stand complete with seascape background, palm tree, beach with real sand, deck chairs, beach shoes and a jug of cocktail mix (actually GRP gel coat) for good measure.
To further effect we created a bespoke “rock” which housed a 3 sided, flip-over, rota-graphic display (the height of tech in its day!) as well as speakers connected to a remote sound system which continued to play a soundtrack of the surf lapping on the shore. Once complete the corner stand feature attracted much attention, using at least three of the 5 senses to deliver its message. The addition of several well briefed keen and motivated staff members made the show a complete success and earnt an award for Best Stand in the services category.
Best Stand Award for Norwich Union General Insurance
The original international motor show moved to the NEC Birmingham in 1976. Not to be outdone London ran its own “motor fair” which continued at its spiritual home of Earls Court from 1977 until in 1993 it was again recognised by the SMMT and once again became “The Motor Show”.
This resurgence prompted Norwich Union to attend at the London show for the first time. We had been busy building stands for them at niche market classic car shows and supporting sponsored events such as safe driver of the year, the RAC classic as well road safety campaigns and other community focused events with and exhibition trailer we had built for them the previous year. The general insurance marketing team had agreed to support and sponsor the Metropolitan Police with a crime prevention theme at the show and what better to use as the basis than the show trailer.
Que Image and meetings with the Met PR team followed and an opportunity to engage with the stolen vehicle squad to highlight vehicle theft and identity fraud known as “ringing” which at the time was becoming a big problem for them. We quickly came to grips with “ringing” whereby a stolen car was given the identity of another legal car in order to sell it on. Also “cut and shut” the process of joining two part damaged cars together in an attempt to make one good one which then became a “ringer” and potentially lethal if driven on the road. The Met were running a TV campaign at the time featuring Jackal’s roaming the street at night under a banner of “CRIME together we’ll CRACK IT” which we were given free access to.
More detailed meetings followed with the stolen vehicle squad where they identified key areas of a typical “ringer” they wanted to show and highlight to the public; the vin plate under the bonnet, chassis number pressed into the bodywork often visible in the foot-well and oh yes the underside of the car where there may be a visible weld where two cars had been joined together. It wasn’t long before we got the message that ideally they wanted to be able to see all around and under the car.
Enter a revolving, specialist welding rig, a framework we sourced which once clamped front and back onto the Renault 5 GT Turbo, an actual “cut and shut ringer”, enabled the car to be rotated on its axis. So right way up you could look under the bonnet and in the foot-well then upside down see under the car. A car being spun by hand was great theatre for an exhibition stand. Not content with one effect we couldn’t leave the Jackal’s out of the picture. We had agreed that as a space only island site that the rear of the trailer would be encased and a large graphic / billboard displayed. An ideal place for us to create a 3D, forced perspective high rise street scene which one of our scenic artists (pre digital printers actual person) completed on site with projected Jackal’s, flashing blue lights and police car sound effects.
The final result was a highly impactful 3D graphic one side of the stand, an extremely visual and interactive car display the other and the Norwich Union show trailer slap bang in the centre… Best stand award for a non-motor trader exhibit…but the story doesn’t end there.
Best Stand Award for South Norfolk Council
Throughout the 90’s the Norfolk show was one of the main events on our calendar. At the height we were responsible for providing our design, build and graphic services to all the major stand holders on the showground; Norwich Union, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk & Waveney TEC and the Chamber of Commerce to name a few as well as exhibition trailers and display equipment hire to a host of smaller commercial stand holders. South Norfolk Council joined the roll call in 1993.
The council had gone through some major changes and was rebranding from South Norfolk District Council to “South Norfolk Council”. They had spent much time and effort improving services and had great new modern premises in Long Stratton which were well tuned to receive public enquiries. From a PR point of view they wanted to better connect with their public and inform them of the improved level of services they provide. There were also some ground breaking initiatives to talk about such as their recycling of plastic waste sacks and alike to manufacture the fence posts they used throughout the county. Also a wide range of community and environmental issues to cover.
We were asked to work alongside their various departments to develop a show stand for them that included all the various sectors of the council. Regular meetings were held where more than 20 people attended all with ideas of what they wanted to do at the upcoming Norfolk Show. Somehow we coordinated all these requests and requirements bringing them together in a cohesive design to provide their marquee based stand at the show. All the departments contributed with various interactions and content earning a well-deserved “Best Stand” at the show which was extremely well visited, even by a very royal visitor that year.
'Highly Commended' for Norwich Union General Insurance
… the crime prevention story continues.
Following the success at the London Motor Show our friends at Norwich Union hatched a plan to roll out the crime prevention message across the land and agreed to support various police regions throughout the UK. The initial list of county and royal show dates grew and it wasn’t long before we had in the region of 15 to 20 dates to fill within the 1994 show calander. Nowadays it would probably be called “going viral” but back then it was a travelling show that we transported and set up in all its glory.
Taking the theme from the motor show we developed a mobile version using the large exhibition trailer we had built for Norwich Union a year or so previous. As the plan developed and more police forces came on board so too did a host of commercial contributors; suppliers of locks, alarms, security products and car manufacturers, all keen to support the cause. Each show / event had a different selection of commercial contributors so the roadshow became quite organic. To tie the whole thing together and reinforce Norwich Union ownership of the event we designed and produced a show brochure pack to contain a variety of insurance policy details and contributors information. An inventory of specifically branded give-aways, balloons, pens, badges and hats were also produced which needless to say were always quick to disappear.
The roadshow ended the year at the Royal Tournament at Earls Court in support of the Metropolitan and Royal Military Police. Once again the stand design we created encased the show trailer and delivered different on brand and on message displays introducing a new joint crime prevention initiative “Operation Bumblebee”. A great end to a great project, rounded off with a highly commended award from the exhibition organisers.
"Highly Commended' For Walkerswood Caribbean Food
We worked with Walkerswood, a Caribbean company based in Jamaica, throughout the noughties primarily providing their stand at the BBC Good Food Show. As the relationship developed we provided many other design, graphic and event related services but the BBC show was our most important focus. Sadly the relationship came to an end in 2009 when the company got into difficulties following a hurricane which decimated most of their core crops. Thankfully today you’ll still see the products on your supermarket shelves as the company was acquired by New Castle Limited and is still successfully trading in Jamaica.
The unique stand design, modelled on a typical Caribbean building, was instigated by founder Roddy Edwards and creatively inspired by the lovely Virginia Burke, head of marketing and the queen of affectionate hugs. We took the creative imagery provided and developed the stand which would you believe we built mostly using a link together aluminium framed laminated panel system. Beginning as a modest 5 x 3 metre over the years the stand grew in size each time successfully extended and graphic finishes matched. Ending up as a 6 x 6 metre island stand complete with roof, high level central feature and full working kitchen the stand won a highly commended award at the November 2003 show. We continued building the stand each year until the new company owners exported the inventory to Jamaica where, with our technical assistance the stand was permanently installed at their headquarters.
'Best Stand' for Casco and Reef One
Associate companies Casco and Reef One (manufacturers of the BiOrb) often shared stand space at GLEE the big outdoor and living show which takes place at the NEC annually. The pet and aquatic sections have since broken away to form several specialist exhibitions, at which we still build stands annually, but at the time GLEE was certainly the place to be. We worked with both companies collectively and independently over many years providing stands throughout the UK and Europe.
However it was GLEE in 2008 where the joint stand we created for these two companies was awarded best stand in the pet and aquatics section of the show. Both companies had very contemporary products which complimented each other perfectly. Casco a major supplier and installer of high end pet store shop fitting and Reef One with its revolutionary BiOrb tropical and marine aquariums. Our challenge was to come up with a stand design that matched the contemporary feel of the products, exploited the common ground that existed between them but at the same time provided each the brand exposure and space to interact with the potential customers independently. From a practical point of view the stand installation based on a 100mm platform floor and 5 metres high needed to provide a stable base for the store fitting as well as distribute power and water out to the many aquariums on display. We thought we had done a pretty good job of achieving this as did the client, clearly the show organisers were of the same opinion and handed the clients a coveted best stand award on day one of the show.
'Highly Commended' for Startrite Shoes
We’d been working with Startrite Shoes for a number of years proving their stands at traditional footwear shows when their attention and strategy shifted more to first shoes in 2005. In that first year they attended two of the four UK Baby shows as well as Pitti Bimbo in Florence Italy, a show focused totally, as the name suggests, on children’s fashion and they needed to attract an Italian distributor. The Baby Show connection continued annually from there and for the 2008 series we designed a stand based on imagery and characters they were rolling out for their new packaging and web presence. The idea was to attend all four UK Baby shows with the new stand which were naturally spread around the country. Not surprisingly the stand design was well received resplendent with very on brand graphics. The layout with bespoke and themed product displays and fully shelved stock room also worked really well, but critical acclaim didn’t appear until the last show of the series which took place at Earls Court in November 2008. Highly Commended!
'Highly Commended' for Reef One
A request for a modest stand to be installed at the Grand Designs Live show in London turned out well for regular client Reef One. The client’s marketing team had an uncanny knack of finding some great marketing and product placement opportunities for their aquarium products which seemed to appear on TV programmes like Blue Peter and miraculously in an episode of Grand Designs when Kevin McCloud revisited a previous build project. So I guess that’s when the idea popped into the client’s head. The modest 6m x 2m stand space they booked worked perfectly well to showcase their range of aquariums and the infinity mirror effect designed in to the closed end of the stand added nicely to the theatre. Enough as it would turn out for Grand Designs Live organisers to come and slap a “Grand Designs Like” commended award on the stand on day one of the show.
Keeping things clean and simple often pays off. The precise appearance of the brand set against a white background set the scene to show off the products perfectly. The aquariums which were all working were displayed on custom made plinths we created for the show which incorporated a hidden compartment for power and pumps for each and a removable leaflet display insert for easy access should anything go wrong during the show. These went on to perform again on the Interzoo stand we built for the client the following year in Nuremburg Germany, after which they headed for France. Now there’s good ROI for you with a nice bonus of an award to add to the one from GLEE.
'Best Stand' for Image Display
A chance to blow our own trumpet at the Chamber B2B exhibition doesn’t go amiss especially when you end up with a best stand award which wasn’t intentional, honest!
We’ve been working with the Chamber of Commerce helping with them with a number of events including the B2B exhibition since 1990 / 91. Whenever possible when dates don’t clash with other events we’re working on for clients we attend the event to support them and reconnect with some local contacts. Being a local event as well as providing the Chamber with event signage and display equipment we normally provide many of the exhibitors with displays, hire equipment and graphics. On the occasions when we attend as exhibitors we normally take along a standard portable kit or some new product.
However every so often we’ll do something a little more special and having recently moved to new purpose built premises we decided to make something bespoke for 2013. The market stall idea picked up on “fresh ideas” and our ability to successfully get our client’s product or services to market. On display on our stall were a number of mock fruit boxes with graphics depicting what we do which were in-dispersed with fresh fruit which we gave away. The stand and fruit went down really well as the best stand award confirmed and a nice bonus was that a new client wanted to buy the stall and use the idea for their own small trade shows… another great ROI exercise and box ticked.
'Best Stand' for Sungard
BCI World is the “must attend” event for the business continuity and resilience professional. This year’s keynote speaker being, until recently, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police who had national responsibilities which included leading counter terrorism policing throughout the UK and protecting the government. So a pretty high profile event. The stand we provided for SUNGARD focused on “Disaster Recovery” of IT systems in the event of a variety of threats or issues set against a corporate themed mountain landscape. We chose an interactive 4wd challenge which featured an authentic scaled model of a Land Rover Defender tackling a number of “themed” obstacles, each highlighting a particular threat to company IT and business continuity. Visitors attempted the course against the clock in an attempt to walk away with the awesome prize of the remote controlled Land Rover used on the stand. Needless to say quite apart from winning best stand award the interaction made the client the most popular at the event! Needless to say we were overjoyed as was the client, when they passed on the fantastic news that they had been awarded “Best Stand”
Watch the Disaster Recovery Challenge in action HERE!