Gabriel García Márquez is considered one of the forefathers of modern Latin American literature. One Hundred Years of Solitude brought him wordwide fame, and since his death a year ago, the passionate author has been celebrated in many tributes.
Group Delphi not only believes in its employees and clients rights but also in fairness, so much so that our CEO wrote the following letter to Governor Pence of Indiana:
Dear Governor Pence,
As a company that has benefited greatly from the pro-business economy of Indiana, subsequently moving jobs from California to Indiana, Group Delphi is deeply disappointed by your recent approval of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Like many other companies in Indiana, we are in an all-out struggle to find, hire and retain the best talent in the world. Not only is it a challenge to recruit people to move to Indiana, but we must compete to keep the best talent from leaving Indiana. This talent has many choices when they pick a place to live and work and this recent bill makes a clear statement about Indiana being less welcoming to some members of our society. Not only is this bad for business, but it is inconsistent with the warm, welcoming and good-hearted people we have come to know and respect greatly in the state of Indiana. We join with the other business leaders in Indiana to ask that you reconsider this bill and send a clear message that Indiana is welcoming to all and open for business to all.
There’s clever, as in baby gorillas coming out of a giant bubble gum machine, and then there is clever! As in using half-built monitors without the polarized film to look and feel a lot like 3D!
For this year’s ExhibitorLive, Group Delphi wanted to showcase our capabilities in bringing physical and the digital worlds together. We don’t just design in drywall; we create integrated experiences that immerse the attendee in a true physical and digital environment. We wanted to create something highly impactful and awe-inspiring, but without spending too much money.
Our own creative director and head tinkerer, Chris Radovich, came up with a truly clever idea. He broke apart a monitor to see if he could strip back the polarizing film, and what would happen if he did. And voila! When you take off the film, the images disappear! All it takes is some polarized glasses to turn a half-built monitor into an immersive surprising experience.
Marlys Arnold of Image Specialist agrees. Check out her video on cool technology she liked at ExhibitorLive, featuring yours truly.
What first looks like a Camaro turns out to be a giant Autobot named Bumblebee. Experiences like this immerse kids in the world of Transformers currently on display in the “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” exhibit at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
But what does that have to do with Group Delphi you might think? Well, first we are excited to have officially opened our amazing new 200,000 square foot facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And… if you have not yet checked out our Group Delphi museum specialty, please visit our website.
Group Delphi and PSFK descended on SXSW and have voted. The Best Experiential goes to two brands that hit it out of the park — coming in at the top is Mophie for the “Rescue Mophie Campaign” followed closely by National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero” uber experience! Check out the video that captures it all!
Group Delphi and PSFK hit the ground running to scout the best experiential marketing activations at SXSW Interactive this year. From pop-ups to immersive experiences to guerilla marketing. Here is the second part of our three-part series. Take a look at part one here.
Mophie: Best Use Of Saint Bernard Dogs
Mophie, creators of phone cases that power up your portable devices, lured in hordes of SXSW attendees by tugging on their heart strings, leveraging two things nearly everyone loves: juiced-up phone batteries and puppies.
Participants could tweet at Mophie with their location, a screenshot of their dying battery, and the hashtag #mophieRescue for a chance to be sent an insufferably cute bundle of fluff with a juice battery pack case.
Passersby could also stop at the Mophie pop-up to visit (and potentially adopt) the rescued Saint Bernard puppies and/or purchase one of the products onsite.
The IPSOS Girls’ Lounge: Best Glass Case Of Emotion
A 40-foot plexiglass box served as a hub for aspiring badass lady bosses. The Girls’ Lounge, created by women’s empowerment group IPSOS, aimed to inspire the next generation of female executives through confidence coaching and chats with women execs on assertiveness, diversity and feminism.
The IPSOS pop-up also included a beauty bar, foot reflexology, a talk stoop with Cat Greenleaf, happy hours, a DJ and more.
Kwik-E-Mart Truck: Best Convenience Store Outside Of Springfield
The Kwik-E-Mart food truck gave SXSW attendees a taste of the Springfield convenience store IRL. The pop-up mobile trailer celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons. The Kwik-E-Mart recreation by FX aimed to bring the brand out of the cartoon world and into the physical one—Squishees and all.
General Electric: Best Way To Let Scientific Facts Marinate
General Electric (GE) wanted to tout its research and development lifeline through its experiential marketing activation—from creating your own barbecue sauce, mad scientist style, to sporting headsets that display your brainwaves while eating BBQ.
The SXSW GE workshops set up shop in a research facility meets picnic space. The goal was to simultaneously celebrate the culture around barbecue and explore how data, analysis and science can advance the art of it.
This month is South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, where thousands of people from all over the world pour into downtown for a three-part series of discovery, exploration, business, inspiration and fun. The first four days are devoted to SXSW Interactive – a staggering collection of technology, digital, entertainment media, electronics and more. So, Group Delphi headed out with tastemakers and futurists, psfk, to find the Best Of Experiential Marketing.
PSFK and Group Delphi hit the ground running to scout the best experiential marketing activations at SXSW Interactive this year. From pop-ups to immersive experiences to guerilla marketing. From the wacky to the whatever to the clever. From St. Bernard dogs touting self-phone chargers to a BBQ sauce science lab to virtual reality simulators.
Here is the first part of our three-part series, featuring two activation hits this year from media companies Fast Company and Mashable.
MasterCard: Best Elevator Incident Since Jay Z and Solange
MasterCard partnered with Mashable for the Priceless Elevator Pitch, where MasterCard cardholders pitched their startup ideas in sixty seconds or less in an actual pop-up elevator.
Behind closed doors, attendees had one minute to pitch their brainchild with a chance to win $15,000 to bring the idea to life.
Toyota Virtual Reality Simulator: Best Driving Distraction
In part with the Fast Company, Toyota offered attendees demoes of its upgraded distracted driving simulator with Oculus Rift. The immersive experience set up shop behind the grill hubbub and hoped to educate users on distracted driving through the use of virtual reality.
Equinox Fitness Class: Best Way To Break a Sweat
Toyota simulator adjacent, Equinox snatched attendees out from the virtual world and had them put the pedal to the spin cycle metal. The Pursuit is an immersive, data-driven studio cycling class. Bold attendees had the chance to take a nine-minute version of the new Equinox class.
Mashable House: Best #BreakTheInternet IRL
Mashable brought ‘Break the Internet’ web trends to life with its pop-up activation at SXSW. A smorgasbord of digital-age inspired activations took form all under one raving roof, from Katy Perry’s gold Super Bowl lion and Left Shark to emoji tattoos and Kim K. wallpaper.
Can you imagine entering the world of exhibits for the first time? Well, we sent our ad agency copywriter and creative director, Matt Morin of Arson SF to ExhibitorLive to report what he saw. And this is his story!
What I Learned at a Trade Show for Trade Shows.
When I was asked by my client, leading experience creation shop Group Delphi, to attend ExhibitorLive in Las Vegas this past week, how could I resist? ExhibitorLive is the premier trade show for companies that make… well… trade shows. (How meta, right?) This was the best of the best in exhibit design — in essence, every company was their own client. How could it not be great? So I headed to Mandalay Bay where I saw for myself what the world of exhibits is all about. Here’s the rundown of what I learned.
Creativity was on exhibit (kind of).
There were some really great booths. MG Design did an amazing coffee shop-themed set-up with every detail thought out. From the guitar player in the corner to a message board filled with funny plays on community flyers, they took a tried-and-true-but-boring gimmick (free coffee) and made it an awesome, inviting, engaging space that showed off their creativity and skill.
My client, Group Delphi also had a busy booth thanks to their creativity. They showcased their technological chops with a innovative now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t video wall and their design and manufacturing skills were highlighted with a beautiful set of in-house-manufactured snap together chairs printed with cool graphics. (For the record, my agency, Arson, had nothing to do with the booth.)
Steelhead Productions was another booth that stood out for creativity. Their “Renting Rocks” Rolling Stone-esque concept let people leave messages on drumsticks and took the overall design in a fun direction.
Outside of those and a few more, most booths had no creative concept at all. The ones that did used tired clichés of light bulbs going on or knocking out the competition. Many others seemed to slap up a pedantic saying about how creative they are, while displaying a booth that was the exact opposite.
Don’t even get me started on the pre-show marketing emails, almost none of which were well-designed and several had typos or other mistakes.
Where was the cool tech?
I figured that since each company was their own client, we’d see the coolest new technology they had to offer. Group Delphi showcased their previously mentioned “Magic Wall” and GES had a massively popular virtual reality goggle display that people lined up to try.
Inhance showcased a very cool multi-screen, touch screen application that allowed visitors to open up new content, videos, etc., just by tapping various parts of the display. I didn’t get to ask how labor intensive such a thing was to build for a client, but you could see all the possibilities.
However for every set of VR goggles, I saw a half dozen disappointing, lame and even non-existent tech examples. From the creepy and dated “personal concierge” to a company that made interactive games — but didn’t even bring the games to play — it seemed that if your company wanted innovative tech, there’s just a handful of companies to consider.
No one understands social media.
I saw a booth with a crazy overuse of confusing, purposeless hashtags. I also saw booths with very specific hashtags built around a concept. The common thread was that absolutely no one was using any of them. A quick check of #FreemanAnswers for example, showed that the only “conversation” going on was between Freeman and their own employees, trying to get show goers to participate.
The best (or worst) was a company using a QR code to get people to follow them on Twitter. You’re going to make me download and launch a QR code reader, scan your QR code, and get taken to your Twitter page just to follow you? Couldn’t you just have told me your Twitter handle (which they didn’t even include on the signage)?
Trade shows are ripe for social media. The opportunity to engage people before, during and after the show via social is such a huge thing, whoever steps up, learns how people actually engage on social, and does it right, will reap big rewards.
Most people eschewed the trade show gimmicks.
We’ve all seen the trade shows with goofy gimmicks. ExhibitorLive had a few: Left Shark and a cheesy play on Katie Perry. A booth girl riding a bike that powered a blender. Bad magicians. Guys doing trick pool shots. A booth that was partially made from a thousand or so oranges for no apparent reason. But luckily most of the big guys have moved far beyond these tricks and have focused on relevant content and interesting engagements.
So the big winners were…
MG Design’s coffee shop was really great. They staffed it with a ton of MGers and it was busy from start to finish. They nailed the concept and executed it perfectly. It was a great way to showcase their talents.
I’m sure you’ll roll your eyes and call me a hack if I include my client, Group Delphi, but their booth really was one of the best. The design was different and eye catching and they did a nice job of showing off their all-under-one-roof capabilities of strategy, design, fabrication, technology and content creation.
GES’ booth was very simple from a design perspective, but the VR goggles certainly were the “wow” technology at the show and got a convention center full of people to sit down and check them out. That counts as a win.
All in all though, I was disappointed to see a dearth of forward-thinking, boundary-pushing companies in the space. It’s well known that brands are starting to take a fresh look at the experiential category with a better understanding of how powerful experiences can resonate with nearly any customer. I found an industry largely stuck in the past, with lots of big talk, but little to show that felt groundbreaking. It was mostly safe and expected with little differentiation.
My prediction? Someone is going to step up soon and really change the way the entire industry operates. There are so many possibilities that haven’t yet been tapped, it’ll be exciting to come back next year and see who has gone above and beyond to really wow people and make a real connection.
Group Delphi is growing and looking for world-class talent to keep pace with our growth!
We need people to help us do what others say is impossible: creating imaginative, perhaps genius, work in-house and under one roof. You’ll have all the tools, technology and support you need to take your work to even higher levels. And you’ll join our band of eclectic artisans, woodworkers, 2D and 3D animators, robotics engineers, videographers, sculptors, model makers, photographers, poets, metalworkers, project managers and technologists.
We are going places. Fast. Join the ride.
Contact us to learn more about the open positions at Group Delphi in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Things are starting to change in the exhibition industry. How do we know? Because we’re the one changing them. If you’re curious to see what the future will look like, come visit us at Exhibitor Live on March 1-5, 2015 in Las Vegas. Take a seat with us at booth #1413 and we’ll show you the forward-thinking things we’re doing – and how we can do it for you.
Exhibitor Live is the #1 conference and expo for trade show and event marketing professionals from all industries and experience levels. At North America’s largest exhibition of trade show and event suppliers, you can explore new ideas, innovative technologies, useful products and vital services.