Trade Show TalesBlog

Word on the Street — February 1st thru February 5th

February 6th, 2010 3 COMMENTS
Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

The Best “Pre-Show Marketing” I Have Ever Seen

After 15 years in the trade show industry, I don’t consider myself an expert, but I am a pretty good judge of certain things — like pre-show marketing.

In late December and early January, I witnessed one of the very best ever. It was created and implemented by Griffin Technology, an aftermarket accessory provider for iPods, iPhones, Blackberrys, and the upcoming iPad. And it was implemented specifically to generate buzz and traffic for their booth at CES 2010.

The Griffin Team clearly put a lot of thought and effort into making this happen, including tapping into two of the most prevalent mediums in our society today: Social Media and Reality Television.

Griffin Pre-show Marketing

Griffin Pre-show Marketing

The Griffin team created the website It was a Griffin Technology meets The Real World experiment. Griffin employees would travel from their home office in Nashville, Tennessee to Las Vegas for CES. All the while, they would document their road trip via social media sites like Twitter.

To start, they acquired a beat-up old VW Bus and started “tweeting” and posting YouTube videos as they restored the van to look like a Griffin marketing piece on wheels. Then, they totally outfitted the van with Griffin products so they could “stay connected” on their journey. Product placement in action!

Equipped with a loyal following on Twitter and YouTube, they set out to drive from Tennessee to Vegas for CES minus all the gratuitous interpersonal crap you expect from reality television shows. Much to the contrary. It was a small group of employees on an adventure that would end up creating an unbelievable buzz at CES 2010.

I will not spoil the whole story, because you really need to go back and follow it for yourself. Whether it was the highlights from national monuments like the Alamo or the Grand Canyon, or simple stuff like stopping for some chow at Popeye’s along the way, or the Mexican Wresting Mask that made several appearances, CES attendees followed them religiously, always checking to see the latest video, photo, or blog posts.

Griffin Technology CES 2010

Griffin Technology CES 2010

All of this concluded with them driving the VW Bus onto the show floor  and placing it in their booth along side their two-story exhibit. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Classic Exhibits Rentals provided them with their exhibit. The project came to us from Carol Larimore and the team from Tradeshow Stop in Nashville. The final exhibit was spectacular! Evidence of the thought and care put into the project by Carol and her team. See the photos in P5D by clicking on the photo.

In the end, when CES 2010 opened the first day, Griffin was swamped with people who had been following them along the way. These were people who had been entertained not only by the personalities of the employees that embarked on the trip, but also by the product used during the trip.

The show was an enormous success for Griffin. And in the end, those of us who have ever taken a road trip of any length know that the overall expense must have been a fraction of what it would have been through traditional advertising and pre-show marketing.

It was a true example of thinking way outside the box.

Let me know what you think. What are some truly “unique” pre-show marketing plans you have seen implemented. Both good and bad.

Please share your comments via the blog comment section and have a safe and restful weekend!

–Kevin Carty


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3 Responses to “Word on the Street — February 1st thru February 5th”

  1. Dave Delaney says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post Kevin. Our journey was an incredible one, we all had a blast.
    Some of the highlights included our meet ups along the way. For example, have a look at this video to see some of the awesome people we met in New Orleans:

    Thanks again for the post. We really appreciate the great feedback.

    Dave Delaney @griffintech
    Griffin Technology

  2. What a great idea. You mentioned that they were “equipped with a large following on youtube and twitter” so they already had the right fanbase ready to get onboard a this type of project anyway. It almost would have been a waste of eyeballs NOT to do something so cool. Anyone with a strong following like that might as well experiment in this way- obviously it really paid off. Kudos.

  3. jmfield says:

    That was very ingenious idea by Griffin Technology. That’s one of the best pre-show marketing idea’s I’ve heard about or seen.

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