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How Moog Made Its Trade Show Booth An Event In Itself

Posted on the 08 March 2016 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
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  • March 8, 2016
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How Moog Made Its Trade Show Booth An Event In Itself

What’s the best way to promote a new invention that people have never heard of? If you’re Moog’s David Van Koevering, you create a ‘Happening.’

This integrated event-marketing strategy that worked for Moog’s first salesman to introduce the then-revolutionary electronic sound synthesizer back in 1970, worked again on a smaller scale at the Moog booth for NAMM 2016. NAMM (short for National Association of Music Merchants) is the music-industry tradeshow held in Anaheim, CA each January.

The show itself is something of a sensory-overload experience — like a gigantic, noisy music store. With nearly 100,000 attendees passing through the Convention Center and surrounding area over four days, it takes a lot to get attention amidst the cacophony and celebrity flash,
even when you’ve got cool tchotchkes and promo products to hand out.

An Oasis Of Calm

The Moog exhibit stood out this year by being totally unconventional: providing an oasis of calm in the midst of all the commotion.

The “booth” looked like a dorm crash pad from the late ‘60s/early ‘70s. There were individual synthesizer stations with headphones set up around the floor, atop an Astroturf lawn. The groovy throwback décor included throw rugs and big cushions, vintage sci-fi paperbacks, psychedelic posters, and cacti perched on rustic cinderblock stands.

A Major Happening

There’s a historical connection behind the whimsy of Moog’s interactive 2016 NAMM booth and the original “Island of Electronicus” ‘Happening’ that Van Koevering conceived in 1970, when it was his job to introduce the exotic new sound-synthesizer, and get musicians and others to buy one.

Van Koevering staged the “Electronicus” event on an actual island off the coast of Florida. Lights and sound were set up. Synthesizers were brought in along with musicians to come and jam. Cushions were placed on the lawn in front of the stage, with synthesizers down in front for the audience to join in. It was a truly immersive musical environment, in which the audience could play along as part of the concert experience.

Fast Forward to 2016

In keeping with the decidedly retro vibe, Moog’s NAMM booth featured colorful posters (illustrated by Kyle Platts), and encouraged visitors to “come together in an immense creative explosion of thought and feeling.” Visitors also had a chance to win tickets to the Moogfest concert as part of a drawing giveaway over the course of the show.

SMB Takeaways

Small businesses can take inspiration from the disruptive nature of the Moog display. Even without a colorful history to draw from, you could study what competitors’ are doing at tradeshows and take the opposite approach.

Remember to integrate your marketing efforts with complementary materials that “come together” to drive your message forward and deliver a “mind-blowing” experience to your audience.

For more tips on how to make the most of your next tradeshow or event, check out “Beyond the Booth: 5 Steps to Trade Show Success.”

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