Less Whiz-Bang, More Purpose

May 9, 2012 by Dave Haynes

I am on the road, in the Carolinas chatting with a company about Preset. One of the things we talked about in the meeting was the whiz-bang concepts and prototypes the biggest companies in this sector plug in at trade shows or put out in really limited numbers in the field.

Happily, we shared the point of view that just about all of that stuff – gimmicky digital vending machines, interactive  video walls and “experience” stations – generates a little short-term buzz but hasn’t a prayer of ever being taken up by retailers or brands. The giant Adidas virtual footwear wall I saw at some show is a good example of an over-the-top concept that gets people excited, briefly, until they realize the costs and implications.

Retailers don’t want to spend the money on experience and chew up precious selling and merchandising space, and brands will only rarely put money into efforts that extend beyond a handful of flagship locations.

These guys – can’t say who – showed me something they’ve developed and got into the field in modest numbers that definitely had some gimmick to it, but it also had a tangible, pretty easily argued business model that delivered on experience but also cut costs and did something better.

This space could do with a lot fewer gimmicks and wildly expensive, never gonna happen concepts and prototypes. It could benefit much more from work that drives objectives that extend beyond press releases and trade show bait.

Plane’s here – time to head south so I can get back north. By the way, the airport in Greensboro, N.C. is awesomely serene.  Easy in and out and free wifi. Makes my regular haunt of Buffalo airport seem like a madhouse (it’s not). My connection in Atlanta will be anything but placid.


  1. Judy Hoffman says:

    Dave, once again you hit the nail on the head. We at Noventri are always amazed at how trade show displays excite potential clients with dreamy ideas and then when it comes down to reality the dream is not feasible. Many times such showy display is in the prototype phase, too costly, too complex, or just plain ridiculous. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the digital signage world.

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