Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Replace Chachkas with Moments

I inherited a two closets full of trinkets and useless giveaways when I joined this firm. It would seem that prior marketing people and partners never saw a spring-loaded calculator or key ring that didn’t call out their name. OOOF! Of all the junk I’ve collected over the years at events and conventions not a single plastic neon pen, combo letter opener/toothpick/scissor, put your picture in here mouse pad, golf ball or notepad holder ever survived much longer than the trip home. If an object was safe it became goodies for the kiddies. Obviously, I am not a fan of chachkas.

But I do believe in creating moments. Small ticks of time that are unexpected and welcome in an otherwise similar event experience. Here are a few that have worked for me or that I hope to use in the future:
  • At a Linux conference a company rented a 20x20 booth and filled it with giant beanbag chairs and offered bottled water to any who took a break from trudging up and down the aisles. I still remember the company, 7 years later.
  • At a mortgage banking conference a bank set up a “beat the expert” checkers tournament. They hired seven crack checkers players and anyone could walk up and take them on. Towards the end of the conference they had a playoff with anyone that had beat their ringers. To one side they had erected a miniature grandstand so that friends and others could cheer on the amateurs.
  • An idea I’d like to try is filling a booth with small desks and chairs and running a proposal editing contest (Would be great for "C" levels and GC's). Attendees would be invited to sit at a desk, given a three page “proposal”, and then given three minutes to find all the errors. In the end a champion could be crowned.
  • Another idea would be a takeoff of the beanbag idea. Fill the booth with massage chairs like at the gadget stores.
I like the idea of creating moments that engage the senses of my audience. After they’ve tossed or lost the last logo-marked trinket many will still remember the brief moment I helped create.