Trade Show Display Bloopers

It all started off easily enough.  The young gentleman, whom we shall call John, was trying to sell business software at the trade center in his town.  He thought it would be advantageous to show a short video of just how effortlessly the program worked.  But, oops…it didn’t work out the way he wanted it to.  When John put in the CD, he stood stunned, glancing at the monitor.  Who were these people dancing around like fools, he thought dumbfounded?    Where did this video come from? As the people standing around and walking by his booth chuckled, he realized that he had somehow picked up the video of his sister’s wedding and played that instead…pork the one you love blooper

These bloopers and screw ups seem to somehow appear at most trade shows and any of us who know the slightest bit of technology will realize that not everything goes as planned.  Plugs get kicked out, systems crash, banner ads crumble, phrases that seem perfectly safe get misinterpreted.  It’s all part of the game.

When it comes to banner stand ads and other forms of advertising, many companies don’t realize their blunders until it’s too late. pepsi-come-alive-fail

On a banner ad in China, Pepsi made a blunder. They put “Come Alive with the Pepsi Generation”.  Well in translating this to Chinese, it meant…Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave!

Even trade show displays aren’t always what they seem to be. While meandering through a trade show displaying vacations, European tours and cruises, my husband and I came across a banner that ran the whole width of the trade show display booth and was inviting people to participate in a drawing that would send one or more lucky winner(s) to London.  There was a beautiful picture of the Buckingham Palace and right next to the decorated guards protecting the Palace was the Eiffel Tower…apparently it had been relocated…turn-it-loose-coors

Beer ads are another long standing tradition in the advertising world. They have long been branded as a staple of male virility and vitality and promise unending fun for those who wish to sip from its bitter hoppy goodness. Coors once advertised the happening phrase “Turn it loose”. When the ad ran in Spanish speaking countries, their slogan came off a bit different in the translation: Drink Coors and get diarrhea.

There is great importance to your display ads, banner ads and especially trade show displays.  It speaks volumes about your business and it speaks volumes about you. So when it comes to advertising, whether business to business, heavy marketing, trade show displays, billboards or banner ads, it’s important to know the subtle differences between continents, and countries.  Do some research!  Know the double meanings that may be hidden in your words of advertisement.

Everyone makes mistakes.  Sometimes a product is remembered just because the mistake is so funny or ridiculous. That’s a good thing.  Often, advertisers work to create just that type of funny or ridiculous ad. But sometimes that mistake, be it ever so small, can be remembered as unprofessional and can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

It’s important to use your specific trade show display booth as a marketing tool.  Make it welcoming, but read and re-read what you are displaying on your banners or tables.  Awaken as many senses as possible for those who pass by.

If people aren’t going to talk about your product, then it’s not good enough.”  Jeffrey Kalmikoff

For more, read our article on trade show blunders to avoid or our article on trade show display errors.

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