D – There is certainly interest in haptic advertising, it has a fascinating attraction – that is the résumé of the HAPTICA® live ‘15. 1,299 visitors travelled to the Palladium in Cologne on March 25, 2015 for the third edition of the “Experience of Haptic Advertising“. The organisers and 110 exhibitors presented to them in diverse formats the numerous facets of an extremely effective form of advertising that is nevertheless sometimes underestimated in the marketing sector.
“Haptic advertising is a bit like the hidden champion among the marketing disciplines. Companies in Germany invested 3.48 billion Euros into this form of advertising last year, i.e. the third highest expenditure for advertising measures after TV and print advertising. And precisely in times, in which online and digital play an everincreasing role, the need for tangible, haptic messages grows. This is exactly where the HAPTICA® live comes into play. We want to demonstrate what makes this form of advertising so exciting for the promoting companies,“ explained Brit München, Project Manager of the HAPTICA® live at the Cologne publishing company, WA Media.
The declared goal of the organisers is to put an end to the niche existence of the promotional product and place it under the spotlight instead. Hence, the “Experience of Haptic Advertising“ particularly targets promotional products users from the industry and service providers, while at the same time, however, also offering promotional products distributors and advertising agencies manifold inspirations and the opportunity to gather information on product novelties for and with their customers and get to know creative concepts. Product presentations, a lecture programme, the Promotional Gift Award prizeceremony and exhibition, the Best Practice Special Show and a networking event in the evening were all bundled into one day in a compressed format, in order to provide the visitors with as much input as possible within a short space of time.
Rush of visitors
A concept that is becoming more and more popular: According to the official figures, 110 promotional products suppliers (previous year: 78) presented their novelties, trends and classics to 1,299 visitors in total (previous year: 959 visitors) at the third edition of the HAPTICA® live, which was held at the Palladium in Cologne on March 25, 2015. The 35% increase in attendance compared to 2014 is primarily due to a growth in the number of users attending the event. Over two thirds of the visitors were either industry customers or came from advertising agencies, one third were industry professionals (distributors and suppliers). Several distributors had brought their customers along with them or had arranged to meet them at the event, in order to jointly discuss concrete projects with the suppliers.
The onrush of visitors was particularly high inthe first half of the day: The aisles filled quickly straight after the halls opened at 10 a.m. The Palladium was bursting at the seams. However, the crowded ambiance had a positive effect on the prevailing mood – a great deal of inspiration was gained, detailed discussions were held and projects were planned amid the relaxed and friendly, yet concentrated atmosphere. In addition to the diversity of the impulses, the visitors also praised the “good support“ and “professional presentation“ (Stefan Breitzke, step-by-steb), the “great location“ (Alice Gervelmeyer, Nosta-Transport) and last, but not least the high consulting quality of the “exhibiting companies”, who “responded to our requirements in an open manner during our discussions (Melanie and Tony M. Kuhn, pepper worX). “I’d describe the HAPTICA® live as being live and vibrant,“ summed up Thomas Ehm, Novo-Organisationsmittel, and Dr. Thomas Bittner, Organomics, talked about a “great event, which enabled me to gain a lot of inspiration.”
The majority of the exhibitors were equally positive. They were not only satisfied with the frequency of the visitors, but also about the fact that a large share of them were decision-makers and that they had also received many concrete enquiries. “The customers were very positive about the theme of promotional products. 40% of the contacts documented at our stand wanted a concrete offer,“ stated Natalie Schaefers, KHK. “A wonderful mixture between new contacts, meetings with existing customers, socializing and an industry get-together,” commented Uwe Thielsch, Koziol. And “as an exhibitor that has been on board from the very start, who is totally convinced by the concept of the event“ Wil van Buyten, Trendfactory, registered a “very wellfrequented exhibition stand.” Whereby, the number of visitors did decline significantly during the prize-ceremony of the Promotional Gift Award.“ On selecting the 110 exhibitors, great attention was placed on the fact that the industry’s most important product areas were covered and that the exhibitor mix was colourful and multi-faceted, ranging from classics such as writing instruments, sweets, notebooks, calendars, cups and bags to trend-led items such as power banks, selfie accessories, individually compilable mueslis and vegan lip care, through to branded shoes, remote-controlled helicopters, pasta shakers, cosmetic brushes and fine premium paper. Many of the visitors were surprised by the diversity of haptic advertising. “Three of us are here to see which new items we can offer our customers in our role as an advertising agency. Although we have already been here for over five hours, we still haven’t seen everything,” reported Monika Meyndt, Inmotto.
The visitors not only gained inspiration at the stands of the exhibitors, but also on the gallery in Hall 1. This was where the organisers had positioned the two special exhibitions. Attention was attracted to the special shows using coloured carpets and a variety of give-aways. The orange colour of the Promotional Gift Award lit up the one side – where this year’s 52 awardwinning products in the categories Give-aways, Communicative Products, Premium Products & Brand Articles, Custom-made Designs, Packaging, Customising Technologies and Best Practice were presented in display cases together with a bi-lingual description. Haptically customised beer mats, collectable cards with web applications for an “online aquarium“, packaging in the shape of a lorry or tablets to combat hostility against gays and lesbians attracted many astonished glances.
On the other side of the gallery, the magenta ones of the HAPTICA® live dominated the scene: The Best Practice Special Show presented particularly striking and successful examples of campaigns that involved the implementation of haptic advertising. The elaborate presentations encouraged the visitors to touch and try out the items – it was also possible to call up additional information via videos. Whether merchandising items such as fund-raising concepts that collected money for the support of whistle-blowers using whistles, cult give-aways like Lufthansa’s sleep masks in Miss Piggy design or symbolic messengers such as sandpaper and spades in bull head design for the Mercedes construction truck Arocs – the exhibits went down extremely well. “There are some very amusing ideas among them, I sometimes spent minutes stood in front of them in sheer amazement at the ideas that people come up with. I find it very impressive and inspiring,“ praised Mark Zechiel, PAOL Promotion Austria.
The lecture programme in Hall 1, which once again proved to be a crowd-puller – each of the lectures attracted over one hundred spectators – offered added inspiration. In total, representatives from four famous companies including Mondelez International and Borussia Dortmund, demonstrated how they successfully integrate haptic advertising into their marketing mix.
After the lecture programme, from 4.30 p.m. onwards the stage belonged to the winners of the Promotional Gift Award 2015. Till Barth, WA Media, hosted the award ceremony, which began with a short film. 47 of the 52 prizewinners had travelled to the event – in some cases from Russia, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland – to receive their trophies after their winning product had been briefly presented accompanied by an appropriate clip of music. The Award that was conferred for the thirteenth time is in the meantime not only very well-known within the industry, but also among the users, as the reaction of many of the visitors showed and as one of the core elements of the “Experience of Haptic Advertising” one certainly can’t imagine the HAPTICA® live without it. The award ceremony and with it also the daytime agenda was brought to a close with a champagne reception. Everybody raised a toast to the award winners of the Promotional Gift Award, whereby some glasses were also raised representatively for haptic advertising as a whole.
There was further opportunity to do the latter at the concluding get-together in the lobby, which after a day full of inspiration and ideas was dedicated to networking. While enjoying finger food and local beer, contacts between the visitors and exhibitors were established and intensified. Many people looked back on the impressions of the day or discussed the imminent relocation of the HAPTICA® live. In order to allow more room for haptic advertising and in order to be able to offer both the visitors and exhibitors more comfort, the HAPTICA® live ’16 will be moving approx. 30 km further south down the Rhine to Bonn, to the newly built World Conference Center Bonn (WCCB). The venue date for the next HAPTICA® live there is March 16, 2016.