Trade Show TalesBlog

Sandboxes and Tonka Trucks

August 7th, 2020 COMMENTS
Custom Trade Show Exhibit

When I was a kid, there was nothing better than Saturday mornings.  I’d wake up bright and early, plop myself in front of the television set, and watch my shows (Magilla Gorilla or Astro Boy, anyone?). After a few hours, my mom would turn the set off and push us to “go play outside.” 

Once outside, the first stop was always the glorious sandbox where I kept my Tonka Trucks. 

Ahhhh, my Tonka Trucks… These classic metal toys were absolutely made for sandbox play. Dump trucks, Front-End Loaders, Bulldozers – all were at home in the sand. I spent hours creating and building in my imaginary construction sites. 

Turning an Idea into a Concept

While that was a lifetime ago, this past February I had an opportunity to revisit the box.  I received an email from AE Lena Jones (Deckel and Moneypenny in Louisville, KY) asking if Classic “wanted to play with some trucks.” 

Seems her Client – Chevron – was looking for something unique for an upcoming show. D&M’s shop was jam-packed and so she reached out to Classic for some support. She said Chevron was looking for a way to have attendees actually “walk-through” one of their Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs). Time out! I can’t even say DPF let alone know what the heck it is or does. But I soon learned. If you’ve ever seen a semi or big rig driving down the highway (or had a Black Hawk Tonka Truck), chances are you’ve seen a DPF. Take a look at the Tonka below. I’ve circled the DPF.

Diesel Particulate Filter

I have since learned that Diesel Particulate Filters, found on just about every big rig in the country, captures significant amounts of the toxins that a truck generates and stops them from spewing into the air. Chevron’s idea was to have attendees actually walk-through one so they could see why their DPF works so much better than the competition’s filter.    

So that was the assignment. Create an over-sized version of Chevron’s Diesel Particulate Filter large enough for attendees to walk through.

Enter Classic Designer, Kim DiStefano

We were not given any build drawings or designs. Just a verbal description and a dusty old Tonka truck. Enter Classic Designer, Kim DiStefano. 

Kim loves these types of assignments. What designer wouldn’t? Little to no info on how the product actually works. No idea as to available budget.  Rendering and ballpark pricing due in a couple of days. Ahhhh, the perfect assignment. 

In just a few days Kim came back with the following renderings looking for input from client.

Lena shared the renderings with her client and of course… Chevron loved it!  The order was placed and a few weeks later… Voila!!

Actual vs. Rendering

Chevron Diesel Particulate Filter Exhibit

Crazy cool, right?! Take a look at how close Kim’s rendering and the final DPF that Classic produced match up.

Classic Exhibits Designs

Got a funky opportunity and not much time to get it through your own system? Consider letting the Classic Team take a whack at it. These sorts of custom projects now represent a whopping 65% of our business. 

And remember… you’re never too old to play.   

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