The Consumer Electronics Show is the biggest tradeshow in the U.S. How do you get noticed at a big, noisy, overwhelming show when you don’t have millions of dollars to spend? That’s the question I’m confronted with every year. After 15 years of exhibiting at CES, I think I have some answers.
It takes a village. Well, in Sanyo Energy’s case it’s a small village—a team, actually—that has worked together for years, attacking each new challenge with gusto to create a unique visual twist.
In past years, we have startled attendees with 10-foot-tall silver people; a booth inside a semi-truck; and a full-fledged GE/Sanyo University with cheerleaders and interactive displays—all creative ideas coming from our long-time partner, Quantum Communications.
In 2006, we were faced with a new challenge: with half the space and a pre-existing booth, how could we make it different, dynamic? The agency came up with the layout. Our photographer, Kaleb Scott, delivered the pizzazz!
A Plan Takes Shape
As Sanyo’s marketing communications administrator, I’ve worked with Kaleb for eight years to design and create photographs to intrigue and entice customers. Here’s how we approached CES. . .
• Our target audience was businessmen, who, we figured, like sports and attractive women. Ultimately, Kaleb came up with the concept of taking 27 different sports and using battery-operated devices to represent the equipment.
• We determined the sports and applications: A bounding athlete makes the tie-breaking slam-dunk into a giant book light. A surfer girl balances on a toy vacuum cleaner. You get the idea.
• How to visually connect all these different images? Kaleb chose a definitive color palette: stark white backgrounds, black sports clothing and equipment, and the signature Sanyo RED for all battery-operated applications.
• We needed to create a sense of playfulness and energy. By selecting models with dance experience, our images could leap, twirl, and reach out of the photos, creating a compelling attraction.
• Photography was divided into two sections: people and products. Since the concepts were not based in physical reality, care was taken to position each model and product in the appropriate alignment, keeping lighting consistent throughout. Several days of shooting with six models and a stylist, were followed by intensive product shooting.
• Post-production work, including color correction, image enhancement, and combining all the elements required several more weeks.
• Lastly, we decided on the final location of all 27 images throughout the U-shaped booth. Shots varied by size and were both vertical and horizontal. Images were printed, framed, then installed at the booth.
We were ready for opening day. Did we succeed? The 2006 CES Sanyo Energy booth had the heaviest traffic of any show to date. I attribute this to the booth’s design. The images created interest unlike any other booth there.
If I have learned anything from years of finding ways to be original, I’d say it is imperative to surround yourself with a team you trust. I enjoy working with Kaleb because he brings a wide gamut of skills to the table, shows a curious mind, and has a visual style that explodes off the page.
Ultimately the question is: Does it sell the product? I am happy to say, yes, it does!