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Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Show Brand Design/Development

Congratulations to #ArtoftheShow competition winners mdg and Association for Creative Industries for the Show Brand Design/Development category! Read how they won this honor!


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The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Show Brand Design/Development category evaluates visual and messaging components used to build a new show’s brand or rebrand a show that was already in existence. Judges take into consideration all the separate elements of the marketing campaign to determine how well they leave a lasting impression on the target audience, and if they are effective in creating a brand association with the show.

Judging criteria includes: originality, visual appeal and creativity of the show logo and/or “theme” material; how effectively the individual marketing elements connect with the overall show brand; ease with which the audience correlates the branding back to the show; how well the branding speaks to the experiential value attendees can expect from the show; and how well each branding effort meets its marketing objectives.

In today’s IAEE Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle, we highlight the winners of last year’s Show Brand Design/Development category:

Under 75,000 nsf
BAR 2017


BAR 2017

The newly reimagined BAR ’17 offered thousands of key buyers in the bar business with endless opportunities to connect with customers, drive sales and capitalize on the buzz surrounding their in-demand products and services. Marketing goals for this year’s reinvented show experience included making the bar industry’s premier event more attractive than ever – drawing an even larger audience of buyers and influencers looking to source new trends and products for their establishment.

The “Crafted*” concept that was used for the BAR ’17 branding campaign utilized powerful and compelling adjectives that were inspired by the beverage industry – especially by popular artisan spirits branding – but were also a clever play on the idea that BAR is a painstakingly selected array of experiences for today’s beverage professional. The local craft movement is a key player in the beverage industry, and even bigger brands are trying to get in on this action. This concept capitalized on that trend to resonate with professionals in the space and position BAR ’17 as a thought leader in touch with consumer-facing industry trends.

In terms of the attendee experience, people who come to a trade show aren’t looking for the kitchen sink – they want a curated experience with knowledgeable experts who can help them evaluate their operations and look for new opportunities. The use of a strong font to emphasize the “C___ed” words used throughout the campaign highlighted the “Curated,” “Crafted” and “Connected” nature of the show.

From a visual perspective, the use of a dramatic, even retro, visual style paid homage to consumer-facing trends, which, in turn, positioned BAR as the best resource for professionals whose job is to attract today’s consumer to their operation in an increasingly crowded marketplace. A unique font and headline treatment, with an asterisk connected to copy tying the “C___ed” word back to the show, intrigued the reader and created mystery.

This eye-catching element, paired with the use of a black-and-white palette with pops of color, positioned BAR ’17 as a sophisticated event that could help bar operations appeal to consumers. This drama and sleek look also did a lot to position BAR as an important event in its own right – rather than a mere extension of National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show®.

“Our aim was to position BAR ’17 as a sophisticated event that meets the needs of today’s beverage professional while clearly delineating BAR ’17 as a separate trade show,” commented mdg Vice President Caitlin Fox.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Association for Creative Industries

Association for Creative Industries

In 2017, after extensive research, the Association For Creative Industries (formerly the Craft & Hobby Association), unveiled a new creative destination called Creativation (formerly the CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show) – a bustling city where the $36 billion global creative trade community grows their business and comes together to learn, connect and discover.

More than 3,000 motivated buyers with 35,000+ storefronts attend Creativation. In addition, global media outlets, bloggers, makers, trendsetters and influencers converge at Creativation to see the newest products and trends from over 300 exhibitors. A wide range of educational opportunities are offered at the show’s Creativation University, and there’s also time set aside for fun! Events during the show and at local venues after-hours provide people an opportunity to catch-up with old friends and meet new ones, experience the local culture, and celebrate all of the accomplishments made over the past year.

In recent years the creative arts industry has seen an explosion of original ways to deliver ideas and to learn, ingenious methods and products brought to market, alternative marketing and sales channels gaining traction, and brand new consumers emerge with a unique language and entrepreneurial spirit determined to grow and expand how we see creativity in our daily lives. All of this change is considerable and has surged through the creative arts industry with lightning speed, causing disruption while creating opportunity.

AFCI partnered with Verse Group, a strategic research and creative branding firm to develop a refreshed brand strategy for its annual event. The name, Creativation, represents the extraordinary scope of the premier North American creative industry event: creativity, education, innovation, inspiration, collaboration and an exciting destination.

The logo is dynamic, modern, inspirational, playful and clearly recognizable as representing the creative industries. It incorporates the vibrant spectrum of color that represents the creativity and diversity of the organization’s members, as well as the new exhibitors and attendees it is trying to attract to the event.

Creativation is a city, jam packed with new interactive opportunities. Creativation is the magic of inspiration and new ways to turn ideas into actions in seminars and workshops presented by new, high-demand speakers at Creativation University. Creativation is a business destination, featuring a three-day trade show with expanded product categories. Creativation is the people who make up the creative industry, coming together to network, share ideas, create new opportunities and shape their creative future. Creativation is a fresh new experience, a work of art in and of itself.

AFCI’s branding goals included positioning Creativation as the destination where creative arts industry professionals join together to learn, connect and discover in order to move their businesses and the industry forward. These goals were met with increases in exhibit space sold, sponsorship revenue, media exposure, attendance at education offerings and Net Promoter Score.

“AFCI is the premier trade association for the creative arts products industry and our annual event is the heart of creativity brought to life in a vibrant community,” said AFCI’s Sr. Director of Marketing and Research Keri Cunningham. “Creativation is contemporary, professional and authentic, accurately reflecting the needs of our members and our role as the voice of our industry.”

The 2018 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 14 September 2018 to submit your entries! Check out all the winners from the 2017 competition.

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