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April 3, 2008
By: Anon

Boat Show all at sea for brand partners

I was interested to read Ian Whiteling’s review of the Earls Court Boat Show. The marketing communications agency I work for represents one of the consumer brands exhibiting at the show and I’ve therefore spent a reasonable amount of time also wandering the floors of Earls Court 1 and 2.

The show does seem to have hit the right mark in terms of variety of content, creative execution and appeal for a very broad range of attendees. From the hardened enthusiast to families looking to break the Christmas shopping monotony, the show truly caters for all.

However, from the perspective of a consumer brand exhibiting at the show, my experience has been altogether very different.

Attractive proposal

Attracted by the predicted number of attendees, the awareness and branding opportunities that the show offered, our client included the show within a series of major events attended this year.

Brand presence at live events and exhibitions is one of the fastest growing aspects of live brand marketing, with brand owners seeing the benefit of reaching their audience in a targeted, relaxed environment and away from competitor activity within their usual retail space. For the event owner, brand involvement also offers a very real commercial opportunity but is also another way to enhance the overall attendee experience of the event. Particularly for a new show, involvement from major household brand names can make a real contribution to the success of the event.

Effective partnerships

However, success relies upon an effective working partnership between the brand and the event team. While the Earls Court team managed to orchestrate a great looking show with some good content, it seems James Brooke and his team may have woefully underestimated the time and resource required to maximise the involvement of brands, such as our client, who have invested considerable marketing funds to take part. Communication from the PR and on-site team has been practically non existence, resulting in missed opportunities for both the show and the brand we represent. Together with a disappointing number of attendees so far, whether the show sinks or swims is yet to be seen.

As far as exhibitors are concerned, feeling like we’ve been left stranded without a life raft has been frustrating. It will be interesting to see whether Brooke and his team recognise more fully the benefit that close planning and ongoing liaison with brand partners and exhibitors can have on the overall success of show in 2008.

Name and company details supplied

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