Noun: gamification, gam·i·fi·ca·tion

The application of typical elements of game playing to other areas of activity, to encourage engagement with a product or service.

Game show attracts large crowds in the Ford booth at the Mid America Truck Show.

Game show attracts large crowds in the Ford booth at the Mid America Truck Show.

The Premise

Why do companies exhibit at trade shows? Reasons include increasing brand awareness, displaying the latest products, cultivating new relationships and nurturing current ones. But ultimately you want to increase qualified leads and sales down the line. When you consider that 92% of trade show attendees say they are looking for new products and 81% have buying power (Source: CEIR – Center for Exhibition Industry Research) exhibiting at trade shows packs a wallop! The trick is to stand out from the hundreds of other exhibitors and attract the most visitors into your booth. But how? Our creative team generated sizzle and excitement for Ford Motor Company at the Mid-America Truck Show by developing a game show that has since been the talk of the convention hall –  drawing customers to the Ford booth in droves year in and year out. Here are just a few benefits of adding a game show to your exhibit:

  1. Game shows are a fun and memorable way to attract visitors into your booth.
  2. Game shows create “buzz” throughout the convention hall making your exhibit a must-see attraction.
  3. Game shows allow you to weave your brand messaging in the clever guise of quiz questions.
  4. Game shows require that participants learn something about your brand before receiving a prize.
  5. Game shows increase the likelihood that visitors will remember the key benefits and features of your products or services long after the convention closes.
  6. Game shows create large crowds, providing excellent opportunities for your staff to start meaningful dialogues and qualify leads.

The Setup

Ford always has a large booth at Mid-America – sometimes measuring as large as 90 X 90. Ford also displays a lot of trucks at this show, often up to 10 including the big-boy F-750. That’s a vast turf to cover and a lot of product for visitors to see. Attendance can run as high as 100,000 and most of the attendees are truck drivers, owner operators of trucking companies, fleet managers, suppliers and mechanics – to name a few. They are not particularly tech savvy, but they love trucks, they know trucks and they enjoy having a good time.

The Challenge

Using the attendee demographics, we wondered what would be the best way to provide a memorable experience for these visitors? We wanted to provide an entertaining, interactive event for the most people at the same time, attract tons of visitors to the Ford booth, leave them with valuable product information, give them the opportunity to win prizes and gather leads. With such a large booth and trucks dispersed throughout, Ford wanted to disseminate information and messaging wrapped in a fun experience.

The Solution

The Tough or Not Tough Game Show! Our desire was to incorporate one of the most iconic marketing slogans of all time – Built Ford Tough – into the title of the game. A large stage was constructed and there was room for 48 seated guests. From our array of trade show talent, we hired a game show host, who is also an adept TPG product specialist, a “warm-up” entertainer, a beautiful assistant and numerous crowd gatherers to oversee the operation. One contestant was chosen from raffle tickets given to the audience beforehand. That contestant was brought onstage and had the opportunity to win $500 in cash, so you can imagine the excitement throughout the hall when word got around. But audience members had the opportunity to win prizes also, by shouting out the correct answers to questions about Ford trucks. During the game show our host incorporated brand messaging and pointed out where certain trucks of interest were located in the expansive booth. All of this culminated in shouting, laughter and excitement that attendees wanted to be part of. Tough or Not Tough was held five times daily to standing room only crowds.

TPG Game Show Host wows 'em at Mid America.

TPG Game Show Host wows ’em at Mid America.

The Upshot

Tough or Not Tough has become a staple for Ford at the Mid-America Truck Show. Those conventioneers are loyal – attending each year and bringing their families to boot. Visitors can’t wait to participate in the fun experience we have created for one of our best clients, Ford Motor Company. When the show is over, people stay. They talk to Ford representatives positioned at each vehicle. Qualified leads increase each year. New relationships are forged. Old ones renewed. Goodwill is spread.

You don’t have to have a huge booth or a big budget to add games to your exhibit. How about a prize wheel? Or a game show kiosk? Or a presentation-style quiz show? You are only limited by your imagination. Add little sizzle to your exhibit stand and get a big payoff. Game on!

The Tough or Not Tough game show attracts throngs of people in the Ford exhibit.

The Tough or Not Tough game show attracts throngs of people in the Ford exhibit.

C.C. Carr - Lead Onsite Director

C.C. Carr – Lead Onsite Director