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Posts Tagged ‘modular displays’

EXHIBITOR Magazine 2021 Portable Modular Awards | Classic Exhibits

April 12th, 2021 COMMENTS
Find It TOP 40

DID YOU KNOW? EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2021 Find It ~ TOP 40 includes 29 Classic Exhibits Distributors. Actually “30” if you include Classic Exhibits. But who’s counting? 😉 Now that’s impressive!

Portable Modular Awards and Find It — Top 40

For the fifth straight year, Classic Exhibits was named a 2021 Find It — TOP 40 Exhibit Producer in North America. In addition, Classic won honors in the Portable Modular Awards for Best 10 x 10, Best 10 x 20, and People’s Choice Award (voted by EXHIBITOR Magazine readers).

Best 10 x 10 Exhibit

This stunning little stand for Verity Global Solutions LLC is the perfect case in point. Designed by Exhibits NW Inc. and constructed by Classic Exhibits Inc., this 10-by-10 was born out of Verity Solution’s straightforward demands: Create a booth that’s clinically clean, highly technical, and representative of the health-care field. The company, which provides software and services for administration of the U.S. federal 340B drug-pricing program, also hoped its new 10-by-10 could be paired with existing pieces to expand to 10-by-20-foot and larger spaces.

Hailed by judges as “clean and inviting” and “both visually and technologically effective,” the booth debuted at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Conference. Here, attendees discovered a back wall comprising a SuperNova LED lightbox, which was made from Classic Exhibits extrusion and featured backlit interchangeable graphics, allowing messaging to be tailored to individual shows and audiences.

Designers also positioned a large flatscreen monitor in front of the lightbox, permitting Verity Solutions to offer videos and messaging in a high-tech and dynamic format. Meanwhile, the lightbox’s clean-white frame spoke to the high-end, clinical nature of the product and the health-care industry. A divider wall along one side and reception desk on the front corner of the footprint, which were also internally lit, further delineated the space. Married with the exhibitor’s existing inventory, the components also have been used to craft everything from a modular 10-by-20-foot stand to a continuous in-line ensemble spanning 40 feet.

Best 10 x 20 Exhibit

Crafting an authentic-looking outdoor environment in the middle of a trade show floor is no small feat. But NuNaturals Inc. made it look effortless with its 10-by-20-foot in-line that debuted at Natural Products Expo West.

Going into the show, the provider of plant-based sweeteners and baking ingredients wanted to grow its existing 10-by-10 stand into a 10-by-20-foot booth, creating a cohesive environment that offered a reception zone, a casual meeting space, and ample product displays and storage. However, NuNaturals also sought to foster an outdoor feel that would serve as a logical backdrop for its logo, which includes a silhouette of a woman riding a bicycle.

The resulting booth from Classic Exhibits Inc. married the previous structure — a 10-foot-long ClassicMODUL Aluminum Extrusion with SuperNova LED lighting — with a new, equally sized lightbox comprising the same materials and similar graphics. Together, the two structures presented a dynamic backdrop depicting a brilliant field of dandelions beneath an azure-blue sky. In front of the backwall, designers positioned staggered-height product counters on the right of the footprint and an L-shaped seating area on the left, the latter of which included storage space accessible via hinged seat-top panels. 

Front and center in the design, designers added a reception desk comprising Euro Lt Modular Panels. Here, a 3-D logo and edge-lit countertop garnered additional attendee interest. And rather than traditional booth carpet, designers opted for artificial turf, which seemed to capture attendees’ eyes and lead them straight into the NuNaturals world.

Throughout the exhibit natural elements and clever features, such as wood finishes, floral silhouettes on the display cabinets, and planters atop the seating ensemble, furthered the outdoor vibe — and delighted jurors. “All of the details were on point,” one juror remarked. “Designers managed to create a functional yet aesthetically pleasing environment that became a breath of fresh air on the show floor. Brilliant!”

People’s Choice Award

To accomplish its goals for the 2019 Nationwide Marketing Group PrimeTime show, GE Appliances, a Haier company, needed nothing short of a Jedi mind trick. For the event, GE wanted to draw attention to an out-of-this-world sponsorship. Its Profile Series line of appliances would be an official sponsor for the then soon-to-be-released “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” In fact, it had set aside a 16-by-30-foot space within its 80-by-100-foot booth for this endeavor. However, The Walt Disney Co., which owns the franchise, forbid GE from referencing past characters and key parts of the upcoming film. Thus, designers at Classic Exhibits Inc. and Deckel & Moneypenny Exhibits needed to craft an experience attendees would immediately connect to Star Wars but that didn’t cross sabers with Disney’s demands.

After rejecting a host of options, the team finally identified an element that was a constant through the movies but that Disney also deemed safe for public consumption: the Millennium Falcon. Thus, the team devised a unique show-floor experience devoted entirely to promotion of this upcoming Star Wars sponsorship that wowed not only attendees but also visitors to, the latter of whose votes ultimately identified this project as the People’s Choice Award winner.

The spacy encounter comprised a tunnel-shaped structure that mirrored the interior of the Millennium Falcon. Designers employed curved, black-powder-coated ClassicModul Aluminum Extrusions and meticulously crafted graphic infills that replicated the spaceship’s walls. To simulate the Falcon’s panels, fabricators employed high-density foam, which was cut via computer numeric control (CNC), sanded, shaped, and painted. Custom SuperNova LED lightboxes along the floor and in the walls highlighted the custom graphics.

To round out the attendee experience, GE also incorporated several movie-theater elements. For example, staff distributed passes for attendees to view the encounter. Costumed ushers collected these tickets at the spaceship entrance and distributed bags of fresh popcorn.

GE Profile Millennium Force Retail Launch Activation

If You Only Have a Hammer . . . : Word on the Street — April 20th thru April 25th

April 27th, 2014 COMMENTS

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

Kevin Carty, VP Classic Exhibits

If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

— Abraham Maslow

Pointing your finger is almost a rite of passage in sales. It’s always the “other guy” who has a limited set of tools or your competitor who doesn’t listen to the client. Unlike the “other guy,” you would never guide your client toward a product or solution that “just so happens” to fit your product assortment.

Or would you? We are all a little guilty of steering customers toward products where we feel more comfortable or where the margins are better. In the exhibit industry, there’s some history to this. Twenty years ago, not only was there a significant split between those who sold portables and those who sold custom, but there were even finer divisions among the portable and custom folks. Some sold primarily panel systems. Others pop ups. Some custom houses would only work with Fortune 500 companies. Others concentrated on environments and museums. And then there was the perceived pecking order with its own set of problems . . . One of which was the creating of a perceived “class” division within the industry.

Just a few years ago, there was a very divisive line between those distributors who sold online and those who sold face-to-face. You couldn’t go to an industry meeting without hearing accusations about the bathrobe wearing Internet jockeys destroying our industry. Who can blame them. They were scared. I understand that, but in hindsight, there were far too many Luddites who needed to walk away from their looms and embrace technology.

The Shifting Playing Field

Economic hard times have a way of shifting the playing field and opinions. During the Great Recession, Classic Exhibits saw a surge of custom houses knocking on our doors for affordable inline and island solutions. We were delighted. We had been knocking on those doors for many years, and although we enjoyed modest success, our success skyrocketed post-2008 (there’s something to be said for being the pursued rather than the pursuer). Post-recession, the smarter custom houses have recognized the value of having a full toolbox when working with their clients. And, to be fair, that’s most of them. It’s clear we are sitting at the same table these days when it comes to meeting the needs of the corporate exhibitor.

042314 20x20 View 3Along the same lines, the portable/modular distributors went two directions. Who can blame them for heading downstream and promoting $99 banner stands and $799 pop ups? Customer’s were demanding inexpensive displays, even if they knew those displays were not ideal or would not last. But, what was surprising and perhaps shouldn’t have been, was that the portable/modular distributors also headed upstream. Many distributors recognized that custom exhibitors were being ignored by their custom house when it came to budget-friendly displays. Many exhibitors were unable to purchase another $150,000 exhibit, but they could convince their CMO to spend $65,000. Those same portable/modular distributors have since added design, storage, and exhibit management services to their arsenal.

So what does that mean? There’s some blurring right now between what it means to be portable/modular and custom. That’s not to say that anyone is confusing a $300 million dollar custom house with a $6 million dollar distributor. No one is that naive. But, what is true, now more than ever, is that the $300 million dollar custom house can’t neglect their clients who want to add inline hybrid displays to their exhibit inventory. And, it’s no longer unusual to see a traditional portable/modular distributor win large island orders ranging from $50,000 to $225,000.

Design and Capabilities Always Win

In the end, design and capabilities win business. Whether that design or those storage services are handled in-house or through leveraged partnership relationships. Custom Houses with in-house design are winning more “budget” conscience opportunities by having their manufacturing partners build smaller footprint exhibits. And portable/modular distributors, leveraging design and services provided by system partners, are winning larger budget island opportunities.

Yes, some lines are blurred. But not the idea that great design, account management, and customer service wins business. I personally like the growth and diversity the Great Recession created in our industry.

Do you agree? How did the Great Recession change your business?

Be well.



Portable Modular Awards | Call for Entries: Word on the Street — November 4th thru November 8th

November 9th, 2013 COMMENTS

Portable Modular Award | Call for Entries

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

You Know — The PMA’s!

In case you haven’t heard, the fine folks at EXHIBITOR have added a great event to EXHIBITOR2014 — The Portable Modular Awards. This inaugural event will be held on Tuesday evening March 18, 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

This long awaited and much needed event will honor the finest in design and building within our segment of the industry. And don’t let the name fool you. These are not your Grandpa’s Banner Stands, Pop Ups and Fabric Panel Systems. NO! As you are well aware, our segment of the industry has seen an evolution over the past ten years, an evolution leading with Hybrid and Custom Hybrid Solutions for clients in all segments and booth sizes.

Deadlines for entries are soon. Entries will be accepted in 11 categories. Early Bird entries are due no later than December 2 ($100 per entry). The final deadline follows on it’s heels on December 9 ($150 per entry). DO NOT miss this opportunity to show off your company’s designs, especially the ones Classic Exhibits has built. 🙂 Really, this is a great opportunity to network at the show and brag on the talents of your designers as well as your suppliers’ designers.

Classic will be entering several designs and strongly encourages Classic Distributors to do so as well. Are there particular builds we have worked on together over the past year that you wish to enter? Work with our designers to gather the files and to pull together your entry. There have been so many beautiful projects this year. It would be a shame not to see them recognized by others in our design-driven industry.

Entering is easy! But the clock is ticking.

And rest assured, this award show will not involve any twerking! Well, ya never know what might happen when someone wins I suppose.

Have a wonderful week ahead.



Portable and Modular Trade Show Displays — Lesson #1

June 14th, 2010 COMMENTS

Are you confused about trade show displays? Well, I am, and I’ve worked in the trade show business for over 10 years. Browse through the web and you’ll discover hundreds of websites showing similar products with prices ranging from bargain basement to “Are you friggin’ kidding me?” It shouldn’t be this complicated. And, honestly, it’s not.

Exhibit marketing is just marketing, and purchasing a trade show display basically comes down to three simple factors: budget, marketing goals, and design. In other words, how much money do you have, what are you trying to accomplish, and what design style appeals to you? Let’s demystify the process, starting with the terms “portable” and “modular.”

Lesson #1 — Portable and Modular Trade Show Displays

No two terms are more abused in trade show world than “portable” and “modular.” Add “custom” to the mix it gets even murkier. Frankly, you should be suspicious of any company that routinely describes their products as “custom portable modular displays.” Choose two:  portable modular, custom modular, custom portable. Or just one: portable, modular, or custom. Beyond that, it’s all marketing malarkey.

What Does Portable Mean

Banner Stand

The Aunt Nancy Display

So what does portable mean? Here’s the easy answer:  you can ship it via FedEx or UPS. Seems straight-forward, right? Not really.

Banner stands are portable. Some are small enough that your Aunt Nancy, at 4′ 10″, 94 lbs, and 87 years, can carry it into a show hall. Others, like pop up displays, are a little more weighty but still pack in portable, roto-molded cases and can be wheeled around. Easy enough. Beyond that, most 10 ft. displays are portable only in the sense that they ship in portable cases. I’ve seen a 10 ft. inline display, with all the bells and whistles, take as many as six cases, each weighing 85 lbs.

How is that portable? It’s not and you’ll shouldn’t fool yourself into thinking it’s portable. Now, to be honest, that 10 ft display was drop-dead gorgeous and included literature holders, backlighting, counters, storage, shelving, and computer workstations. It was perfect. But, it wasn’t portable and the client would have been better off shipping it in a roto-molded tub or wood crate. That way, everything is together and there’s little chance of one case getting lost.

Portable Modular Trade Show Display

Portable Modular Trade Show Display

When it comes to choosing a “portable,” you have to make choices. To use a camping metaphor, there’s a reason why a two-person dome tent is not the same as a camper. It’s called features and benefits. And to take the camping metaphor a little further, there’s a reason why a two-person tent costs $45 at Super Discount City and $250 at Mountain Outfitter Plus. The $250 tent is much better.

Everyone has a comfort level and everyone has a budget. Choose the one that makes the most sense for your exhibit marketing goals, but don’t whine when the $45 tent springs a leak during the first gully-washer. At the same time, don’t buy a deluxe camper if you are only camping at the Valley of Dreams RV Park one weekend a year. You’d be better off renting, but that’s another article.

Finally, everyone wants a portable display that sets up in 30 seconds and looks like a McMansion. Guess what? There’s a much better chance you’ll stumble into Sasquatch on your next camping trip than you’ll find a 30 second portable McMansion.

What Does Modular Mean

Portable Modular Trade Show Display

Custom Modular Trade Show Display

Then there’s the term “modular.” We all want things to be modular. That way, when we change our mind, we can transform what we have into something else. In its most basic form, modular means “parts and pieces.” Now, I know that may sound a negative, but it’s not meant to be. After all, something can’t be modular unless one part can be reconfigured into something else.

Ask yourself how much modularity you really want? If all you really want is a 20 ft. inline display that configures down to a 10 ft. display . . . that’s easy. There are lots of choices from basic to boffo. However, if your goal is to transform a 20 x 30 island into a  20 x 20 island, a 10 x 20 inline, a 10 x 10 inline, and a table top display, then it gets considerably more complicated.

There are multiple ways to achieve that goal. The end result, however, may resemble a hippoelephantdonkeycat. And, if you’ve ever spent anytime breaking down an exhibit at the end of a show, you know that the best laid plans of organizing all those parts and pieces for the next “smaller” show is often sacrificed in order to make your 7:15 p.m. flight.

Let’s consider modular from a different perspective — portable modular or custom modular. We already know what portable means. It can ship UPS or FedEx. A portable modular display typically has more features than just a portable exhibit, such as workstations, counters, monitors, shelves, backlighting, etc. In other words, it’s more than just one big graphic.

A custom modular gets a little trickier depending if the emphasis is on “custom” or “modular.” Modular exhibit builders are taking portable modular components and putting them on steroids. The parts may be bigger, fancier, and generally pack in small wood crates or roto-molded tubs. Each component tends to be lightweight to save on shipping but there may be lots of components. Custom builders are taking large custom components and either breaking them into smaller components or rearranging them to work in multiple pre-configured displays. Generally there are more shipping crates, but the assembly time may be reduced. It will cost more to ship it, but you may save time on installation and dismantle.

So, what have we learned?

  1. Portable isn’t always portable
  2. Don’t buy a pup tent if you plan to camp for more than two or three days
  3. Get what you can afford, but don’t get less than you need
  4. Modular means “parts and pieces” but that’s not a bad thing
  5. There’s no such thing as a 30 second portable McMansion
  6. Exhibit marketing is just marketing (but then again, everyone thinks they’re a “marketing genius”)
  7. Finally, and this wasn’t in the portable/modular explanation but it goes without saying, “Ask questions, trust your instincts, and work with someone who knows what the heck they’re doing. We can’t know everything for goodness sake!”

–Mel White
Classic Exhibits Network (LinkedIn)