Past Events

Trends in Trade Show Video Content

As someone who goes to trade shows a lot to stay on top of trends in my clients’ industries, I’m acutely aware of how video is being used by exhibitors. And in the last three years I’m happy to say I have witnessed an exponential ramp-up of a video presence at trade shows.

Back in 2012, only a small handful of few booths had video. Occasionally one had a TV or computer monitor displaying a company’s web page, but not many. And there weren’t many video crews capturing the event, either.

The video scene was a little better in 2013. A few groundbreaking exhibitors were embracing video and all that it could do by displaying beautifully shot and highly memorable commercials on a silent loop (I vividly remember one in particular to this day, and I watch a lot of video!). Others were making a good effort with a thoughtful stills slide show. And I would see a camera crew capturing footage here and there.

Well, as of this year, any ambivalence toward video is history. I couldn’t swing a cat at the Architectural Digest Home Show without hitting a video crew (not that I would want to). And most of the exhibitors had either very good video or at least an excellent stills slide show. And anyone who didn’t have moving images on a screen seemed sadly behind the curve.

If your company is one of those just starting to realize the necessity of a trade show video, don’t despair. There were some mistakes made in the early years of trade show video that we all learned from, and now you can, too.

Mistake #1 — Using an already existing commercial One of the great things about a trade show is that it’s an opportunity to show what your company is doing now, not what it did three years ago. More aspiration, less track record.

Mistake #2 — Relying on voiceover Voiceover can cover a lot of flaws in the concept and execution of video. Hit that mute button, and all you’ve got are images with no context.

Mistake #3 — Repurposing a PowerPoint demonstration It’s certainly a cheap option, but the purpose of video in a trade show booth is to entice attendees in to learn more, not dump a whole lot of detail on them. They’ll just keep walking.

Mistake #4 — Thinking you need just one Well-conceived and executed video has a very strong point of view. Depending on your services or products, they all might fit in a single point of view. But if not you should consider producing more than one so that each message is heard loud and clear.

“Trade show video” can mean a lot of different things, so know what it is that you want your trade show video to do before commissioning it. Do you want to promote a new product line at your booth? Or a breadth of product lines? Are you trying to capture the trade show event itself to market to clients? Or educate employees who can’t attend?

Below are three examples of trade show videos we’ve done for clients, along with a brief description of that particular purpose and point of view. Hopefully these will help you make those early decisions that are crucial to video success!

MechoSystems — MagnaShade Video This is a single-product commercial designed to be played without sound. It makes a strong visual statement and is completely branded to the company’s image as a world-class manufacturer of shades systems.

Carnegie Fabrics — Creative Walls This is a commercial advertising a group of new fabrics by Carnegie. We upped the visual interest by using a “Ken Burns” effect on images to create layers and some pretty and dramatic animation on some of the patterns. Piano music optional.

Carnegie Fabrics — ICFF/Parsons This is a video shot for Carnegie at a trade show in which a company initiative — a partnership with Parsons — was unveiled and promoted. The result was a goodwill-building PR piece Carnegie then sent to clients.


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