“If we’re going to do this show – we want to steal the show!” That was the brief from Inverness Medical’s Marketing Director to Parker Design. We knew that this had to be more than just a trade show stand design, it had to be theatre!
Inverness Medical (now known as Alere) had booked a 42sqm space only plot at the far end of Birmingham’s ICC, for the bi annual IBMS Congress. Inverness sell point of care diagnostic equipment, designed to speed up diagnosis for patients and put the control in the hands of the GP (at the point of care), rather than going through the lab in the traditional manner. The audience at the congress consisted primarily of microbiologists, who work in labs and are a tough crowd to win over.
We realised that if we were to steal the show we needed to cause a stir and give the audience a reason to visit our stand. After a lot of brain storming the idea of putting on a spoof fashion show entitled ‘Lab Fab’ was born. The overarching theme to the trade show stand design was the question ‘If you were the patient, what would you want?’, challenging these lab workers to put themselves in the shoes of the patient and think, when it comes to healthcare what would I want if it was me?
The trade show stand design consisted of a 4m high cylindrical tower the exterior wall of which was clad all the way round with a huge mirror, with the question posed above in large vinyl lettering. The other walls we built from angled slats, allowing passing foot traffic to take a sneaking glimpse of the crowds inside the stand, but not actually see the show, unless they entered the stand. This not only created a sense of intrigue and encouraged visitors to come onto the stand, it allowed Inverness to monitor and control who was on the stand at any one time. Inside the walls of the stand we positioned large wall graphics showing the different healthcare pathways – traditional verses Inverness’s way. Sales staff talked the captive audience through these graphics following each of the fashion shows, capturing their interest and details on preprinted forms.
Once inside the stand the crowds were treated to a comedic spoof fashion show all based around lab wear – “if you didn’t have to wear a boring old white lab coat – what would you choose?”. Working with a theatrical costumier we designed and made a dozen different comedy lab coats including a pinstriped ‘Gansta Lab’, a Burberry ‘Chav Lab’, and a Hot Pink PVC ‘Only gay in the lab’ amongst others – all brilliantly modelled by the Inverness marketing team. Hiring in the services of professional impressionist the shows were made truly unforgettable by ‘Patsy’ from Ab Fab and fashionista ‘Bruno’ delivering a hilarious comedy commentary.
Testament to the success of the concept and the trade show stand design, was the queue of visitors still trying to get into our stand at 4pm on the last day of the show whilst all around Inverness’s competitors were breaking their stands down.