If you have ever been to a bike show – or any show for that matter – you cannot help be impressed by some of the elaborate and creative constructions that companies use to highlight their latest products.
As you might expect it is a costly and time consuming process … but exactly how much goes into the effort of taking a firm ‘on the road’? The INTERMOT gathering at Cologne last week was a six day-long exhibition and a ten day working period for KTM to show off their 2013 motorcycles to all and sundry; from journalists to celebrities. Over 203,000 visitors crowded the halls of the Koelnmesse for what was the centre of the motorcycling universe for a short time.
KTM was firmly in the eye of the storm for one of the industry’s premier events, so we grabbed a few moments with Event and Trade Show Manager Eva Priewasser to see how she puts the whole circus together …
Eva, the KTM area of Intermot really stood out thanks to some interesting angles and of course that vivid colour. Does it take a long time to plan the design for something like that?
“Actually we start a year before the show. Kiska, our design agency, brings in a specialist who formats some layouts and we play around with them a bit before making a decision and then working out the details. We then have a pre-build at the booth-planner in Germany where we construct the parts that are critical and then analyse again. Even things like choosing the flooring can be difficult and it can be tricky to make it fit into the budget. All the graphics need to fit and the lighting set-up needs to be in the right places with the right effect…sometimes the builder can be off-spec. It is a bit like building a house and different workers at different shows have different methods! You have to be here and really oversee the construction at the show, around four days before anyone is coming onto the stand.”
Does the same stand make the trip around the world to the shows?
“Not really. We have 10-15 shows a year and we put them in different categories. The ‘A’ group involves EICMA in Milan where we have our biggest display. Then ‘B’ which is Paris or INTERMOT Cologne and then ‘C’ which is Brussels, the Netherlands, Stockholm, Tokyo and so on. For the ‘C’ group we use a smaller set-up but in terms of square metres it is more or less the same as we have at INTERMOT with 450. EICMA has 620 and overseas hits around 300, more or less. It is quite a bit of work and I think around 30% of my job is centred on the shows.”
So you are having to co-ordinate 3-4 different displays?
“Yes, but it is not that difficult because we have the team in Kiska as well and it is a process of maybe three meetings and then it’s done.”
Can you let your imagination run wild with ideas?
“Everything is possible but it is just a matter of getting approval from the show organizer! Like we saw at INTERMOT with other brands people can ride bikes on the stand and we will probably do something ‘different’ for EICMA. You can do what you want … the only restriction is budget.”
What about construction time from the moment you arrive at a venue?
“We started on Thursday in Germany, so we had until Monday night. In EICMA we have a double floor stand and that will need to start on Monday to be ready, so basically a whole week. We have electronic information stands now for the bikes so the floor has to be built to ensure we have the power in the right places and things like this always take more time.”
“We have around twenty to twenty-five during the show and that’s the same whether it’s EICMA or Paris. For the actual build there are not that many because with so much activity it can be more complicated to co-ordinate. In Tokyo we actually had sixty people working on the build! Beforehand I never thought that amount could do everything efficiently on a 200m2 stand but it worked out well!”
Does it all pretty much click together like Lego?
“Pretty much. A lot of it is plastic and clicks together. There are a lot of stickers and not much painting.”
So what kind of ball-park figure are we talking about to make something like this happen?
“Some people go really big. BMW had something like four or five times the space and more technical elements, like the translation headsets and so on. We go for a more family feel. We do not go over the top and everyone – even up to people from the board of directors – is walking around together. Our press conferences are simple and we like to do it that way. There are different booth builders and the prices can vary up to 50%. Overall it is quite a lot of money and for a show like EIMCA we are easily into six figures.”
Come and see Eva and the KTM gang at EICMA in Milan from 15th-18th November .