Election Fiasco Drives Traffic
A clever display at a store-design trade show illustrates the pulling power of a good idea
Attending a trade show provides a good chance to see things from the customers perspective. Heres how it looks: Dozens of vendors. Similar merchandise. Competitive (read: the same) prices and terms. Same old image.
To break out of this mold for their appearance at the Dec. 6-9 ShopEast show in Manhattan, officials at Mondo Mannequin, Hicksville, NY, designed a booth around the event that transfixed the nation for five weeks the election mess in Florida.
Mondo arranged its 13 mannequin lines in distinct groupings and invited attendees to vote for their favorite on butterfly ballots similar to those criticized as confusing to voters in West Palm Beach, FL. The mannequins were dressed in warm-weather apparel to emphasize the Florida link, and the booth prominently featured a ballot box in the middle of the display.
We began planning about three weeks before the show and sweated the whole time, says Neil Carpentier, vice president of sales. If theyd settled the presidential election before the show, wed have had to scrub everything and go without a theme.
However, the Florida election remained in the courts through showtime, and Mondo salespeople were thrilled with the effect the theme had on booth traffic. There was a high-end mannequin exhibitor right next to us, and we were pleased our conce
t helped us stand out in that area and that our customers enjoyed it so much, he says.
In all, 123 ballots were cast. The winner? With 78 votes or 63% of the total a line of translucent blue and yellow forms far outstripped all others. It was a new line and, because of that, I think it really caught customers attention, he says.
Were not planning any recounts.
Mark E. Dixon