After its successful premiere in 2013, the second edition of HAPTICA® live was on expansion course. “The Experience of Haptic Advertising” recorded almost double the amount of exhibitors, a 56% increase in attendance and an even greater input of information in the “Best Practice” and “Promotional Gift Award” special exhibitions at the Palladium in Cologne on March 26, 2014. Amid an open, creative atmosphere, the promotional product was offered an inspiring and equally professional platform.
D – Haptic advertising is a frequently underestimated medium that continually has to fight for esteem in the marketing mix. The HAPTICA® live has set itself the goal of assisting the promotional product in gaining a better standing and convincing the market players about the advantages of this discipline: The organiser, WA Publishing, editor of the eppi magazine, believes in the power of haptic advertising. Haptic advertising doesn’t just play a secondary role to the other forms of advertising here; instead with all its facets it takes centre stage. Several forms of representation – an exhibition with product novelties, a lecture programme, a Best Practice special show, the prize-giving ceremony of the Promotional Gift Award – are bundled together and presented in a compact format within one day.
Last year’s premiere already showed that the concept principally works: Many of the visitors showed great interest in the options haptic advertising offers and basically awarded the “Experience of Haptic Advertising“ top marks, however a frequently repeated request was that the event should be expanded.
In line with this, WA Publishing relocated the HAPTICA® live from the E-Werk in Cologne to the nearby Palladium. The former industrial building radiates a special charm with its brick facade and moreover its two halls offer almost double the amount of space as E-Werk – which allowed a more open layout of the fair and also the integration of lounge areas.
Significant increase in attendance
The fair was “action-packed” for the exhibitors especially in terms of the high number of visitors. In total, the programme attracted 959 people from 679 companies in spite of strikes by the public transport companies and at the airports and the resulting traffic chaos. “Because we already participated last year, we guessed that it was going to be full again. But it has got much busier – we weren’t quite expecting it to be like this and certainly not at 10 o’clock in the morning already,” commented Henrik Koemans, PSL. “We find the show super,” agreed Guy Desseaux of the HAPTICA® live newcomer, belgosweet.be. “Lots of visitors, interesting discussions, a great atmosphere. We have collected as many business cards today as we do in two days otherwise.“
The Palladium was particularly heaving in the morning, at some stages the visitors were queuing right back out onto the street. In order to avoid such waiting times in future, WA Publishing is going to rethink the admission procedure for next year. Despite the lecture programme and the Promotional Gift Award prize ceremony in the afternoon and evening, which incidentally formed further highlights of the event, the flow of visitors slowed down after 3 pm – several exhibitors would have preferred a better distribution of the flow of visitors, especially since the flow was not evenly distributed within the two halls.
The attendees were industry professionals from marketing, communication and purchasing departments as well as representatives from advertising agencies, promotional products distributors and suppliers. Over half the visitors came from user companies and advertising agencies. Whether TV companies or banks, food or textile manufacturers well-known on the retail market, energy providers, telecommunication service providers or educational institutes – the entire range of industry companies or service providers were impressed by the programme.
Visitors from abroad – mostly promotional products distributors and representatives of renowned industry companies from among others Hamburg, Munich, Berlin or Frankfurt am Main are further proof that this idea exchange format makes the market players curious and encourages them to occupy themselves with the theme of haptic advertising.
At the stands of the 78 exhibitors, the visitors were able to experience the full spectrum of products that can be implemented for corporate communication purposes. Brand name companies and famous promotional products suppliers, full-range stockists and specialists offered a mix that covered plenty of the visitors’ needs.
There were plenty of reasons for promotional products distributors to travel to Cologne. “The nature of the networking and the inspection of the novelties is much more productive here than at larger events,” confirmed Markus Angermayr from the Austrian promotional products company, Forum Werbemittel. “Since most of the important suppliers I like working with exhibit here, I am considering bringing my complete sales team with me next year.“
Other distributors directly brought their industry customers along with them: “The feedback was very positive,” stated Carsten Lenz, CEO of the German distributor company, S&P. “The customers appreciated being advised by us and that they were able to tangibly experience the products. They would never have discovered some of the products suited to them if they had visited the show on their own – they were overwhelmed by the incredible selection. For us distributors a platform like this is a good opportunity to convince buyers and marketing executives about our medium.“
The open discussion atmosphere was highly praised. The fears of certain market participants that the branch structures could be endangered because the event was open to everyone seem to be unfounded. “It is a nice platform, which gets the suppliers, distributors and the industry together around one table,” commented Sebastian Tatzel, Xindao. “At the beginning a few people were perhaps rather sceptical, but everything has turned out fine in the meantime and everyone is very open.“
The high quality of all of the exhibited products was praised by the visitors, as was the skilled sales staff. Many inspiring dialogues with concrete enquiries resulted in a light-hearted mood, a relaxed and constructive atmosphere, which arouses the desire for more.
The other formats of the event also contributed towards this. Five speakers participated in the extremely well-attended lecture programme. The lectures were held every hour and each took a look at the wide field of haptic advertising from a different perspective. The lectures lasted between 15 and 30 minutes. The goal was to convey information in a brief and compact manner and ultimately provide the visitors with added value.
The stage where the lectures were held was located in Hall 1, whilst Hall 2 additionally housed the catering area and two exhibition zones: The orange-coloured zone was reserved for the 53 prize-winning products of the Promotional Gift Award 2014 and the magenta-coloured area showcased especially successful – in terms or their originality and commercial success – Best Practice examples from the world of haptic advertising. The visitors were impressed by many of the exhibits, which also had a “wow” effect on the audience.
Stage free for the winners
The Promotional Gift Award exhibition also proved to be a crowd-puller that aroused the curiosity of the visitors: Including logo imprinted frying pans, stubs of pencils that sprout plants or gloves that can be used for making telephone calls – many of the product developments appear as if by magic and prove that there is no limit to one’s fantasies.
This year’s winners were honoured in a worthy setting at the prize-giving ceremony. At 4.30 pm the host, Till Barth, editor at WA Publishing and Project Manager of the eppi magazine, invited the winners up onto the stage in Hall 1. Forty-four of the 53 companies that won awards were present in person, in some cases from Italy, Spain, England or Slovenia to collect their coveted trophies. Short clips of music – each individually chosen to suit the awarded products – and the thoroughly entertaining and professional hosting of the ceremony ensured that it was anything but boring in spite of the high number of winners. On the contrary – a lot of the participants considered the event to be an impressive highlight of an inspiring day dedicated to haptic advertising.
A subsequent get-together gave all participants the opportunity to intensify the contacts they had made during the event in a relaxed atmosphere. The exhibitors, organisers and visitors joined up in the lobby area and brought the event, which has been well-accepted among the industry circles as well as among the promotional products users, to a pleasant close in spite of a few teething problems. This not only aroused the desire for more haptic advertising, but also for a further edition of the event. The next venue date has thus already been fixed: The HAPTICA® live ’15 will take place at the Palladium again in Cologne on March 25, 2015.