Interesting Take-aways From Last Week

By sethmsparks

Just a few interesting notes from the convention I worked last week.  I more than likely missed a few observations serving free popcorn to the thousands upon thousands of Shriners that overtook St. Louis, but here are my most noted items.

The Color Purple
My colleague and I handed out hundreds of keychains and stress balls.  Both came in a various assortment of colors, but no item color was commented on as much as the purple items.  For some reason, the people who chose purple always said something like “Ohh, I have to have the purple one” or “Purple is my grand-daughters favorite color”.  None of the other colors generated this kind of response from the attendees. 

That said, I think I need to research the color Purple, and see if I missed something in art class.

The Trick Pen –
Just like every other booth, we were taking entries for a raffle.  The raffle for the pair of Men’s and Women’s Skagen watches got a lot of interest from the crowd, but the pen that was available for completing the forms got just as much.  Honest to God, half (if not more) of the people that used the pen tried to twist the ink-tip out of the bottom, instead of realizing that the pen actually had a cap that you needed to pull off.  After showing one guy how to work the pen, his only response was “Well son of a bitch.”

I’m sure the maker put a lot of thought into the design of the pen, but I wonder if they really wanted it to confuse people the way it does?  I guess keep this in mind when designing anything, if the goal is to mimic, do it without confusion.

Surprise, It’s Free
As I mentioned above, we gave away popped corn… FREE popped corn.  It was fairly devastating to hear person after person ask how much the popcorn was, and to see the look of suspicion on their face when we told them it was free.  We weren’t selling anything, just doing PR work for our program, and people were suspicious of us.

It’s kind of a sad piece of the story, realizing that people have been trained to be suspect of something offered out of kindness.

The one thing that I was fearful of, was realized early on at the convention.  Although our booth was full of flash, and coorporate flair, our message was buried within layers of banners, pegboards, brochures and raffle slips.  The one question one should never get asked, we were asked over and over and over again… “So what are you selling?”  Having to explain this to each person that entered our booth only left me a bit more saddened each time someone walked by without entering out booth to find out. Such waste. 

My point here, treat a convention booth like a billboard for the people that “drive-by” without stopping.  If they can “get it” in a matter of seconds, you better consider not even trying to calculate a ROI.

Final Thoughts
Since this was my first convention, I am excited to make it back to more.  It’s interesting to see the dynamics of each person as they work their way through booth after booth, and how couples and groups influence each other without intending to.  I think it would be fun to work a booth with The Paco.