Trade show stand design

Trade show stand design

“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) sell point of care diagnostic equipment, designed to speed up diagnosis for patients and put the control in the hands of the GP, rather than going through the lab in the traditional manner.

Planning to attend the bi-annual IBMS Congress, our client had booked a 42sqm space-only plot at the far end of Birmingham’s ICC. The audience at the congress consisted primarily of microbiologists – a tough and savvy audience to win over.


If our client was to steal the show, we needed to make a big impact and give delegates a reason to visit the stand. So we created ‘Lab Fab’, a spoof fashion show. The overarching theme to the trade show stand design was a simple question” ‘If you were the patient, what would you want?’, challenging lab staff to put themselves in the patient’s position.Trade show stand design

The stand design consisted of a 4m high cylindrical tower, with an exterior wall fully clad on all sides with a large mirror, with the question to the audience in large vinyl lettering.

To build the remaining walls we used angled slats, allowing passing foot traffic to take a sneaking glimpse of the crowds inside the stand, enticing them to enter if they wanted to see the show. This not only created a sense of intrigue and encouraged visitors in, it also allowed our client 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 vs. Inverness’s way. Sales staff talked the captive audience through these graphics following each of the fashion shows, capturing their interest and contact details.

“We find it tremendously efficient working with Parker Design. Having direct access to their friendly team of designers means that we can maximise our marketing spend.

Not only that, they excel in the creative stakes and consistently deliver a first class service that we have come to rely on, sometimes against very tight deadlines.”

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 ‘Gangsta Lab’, a Burberry ‘Chav Lab’, and a Hot Pink PVC ‘Only gay in the lab’ amongst others, all in reference to popular culture characters and brilliantly modelled by the Inverness marketing team. Hiring in the services of a 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 getting ready to go home.

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