7 Awesome Trade Show Displays

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Trade show marketing has huge potential to bring in business when done right, but what takes a booth from okay to amazing?

“Great exhibit design will affect viewers within seconds and embed itself in attendees’ minds.” Most trade show veterans would wholly agree with Nico Ueberholz, owner of this statement and design firm Ueberholz GmbH.

An effective trade show display must hold the attention of the passerby. Although an eye-catching booth takes only seconds to affect attendees, it takes more than a pretty face to turn visitors into lifelong brand ambassadors. To transform an interesting trade show display into an awesome trade show display, you must combine striking with functional. Budget with creativity. Simplicity with story-telling. Fascination with appropriateness.

Related Article: How Successful Exhibitors Reach and Connect With Their Target Audience

If you take notes from the seasoned trade show participants, you can learn which design tactics work. Here are 7 awesome trade show displays that stand out among the trade show-crowd.

(Image Source: BizBash)


MC2 crafted an interactive booth for Michelin that allowed visitors to experience the product from a very unique perspective. Featuring two simulator booths, this trade show display let visitors “be the tire” and view the product through the eyes of the product itself, feeling the vibrations of the “road” when stepping onto the floor mats and hand platforms.

Takeaway: It would’ve been extremely easy to simply present tires on boring shelves. Tires aren’t the sexiest product, so the Michelin marketing crew knew they had to do something to captivate. Your product or service may be lackluster at first glance, but the purchasing process doesn’t have to be.

(Image Source: Bizzabo Blog)


In 2012, TaylorMade created a trade show display that thoroughly “wowed”. At the Orlando P.G.A. Merchandise Show, the golf club manufacturer’s exposition was alluring during the day, and the night. They sold their product during the day within a 30,000 square foot area during the day, and showed some client appreciation at night by throwing a party. But the entertainers weren’t dressed in polyester knit pants or ugly-sweaters. Instead, they were hanging from the ceiling, clothed in crystals and serving cocktails.

Takeaway: Think about engagement. You don’t need to necessarily employ Cirque Du Soleil dancers, but devise ways in which you can thank past and future clients. Having live performers or celebrities are becoming more popular in trade show events. You can also give away samples of your product, or a memorable (and meaningful) token to commemorate your service. People are 52% more likely to stop at exhibits that are giving out enticing promotional items.

Vacuware Trade Show Display(Image Source: Behance.net)


At the International Home & Housewares Show, the kitchen appliance company set up a 30 x 30 ft. trade show display to introduce their new product. Past the appealing exterior was the functional interior fit with a fully serviceable kitchen and beautiful displays. The quickest way to a customer’s heart is through his stomach, right?

Takeaway: Show how your product works. VacuWare not only told their story, with their visual display and graphics, they used demonstrations to bring validity to their product.

(Image Source: QuickTap Survey)

charity: water

This trade show wins the category of engaging. For Inbound 2013, the altruistic organization installed a “Waterwalk” walkway, to tell their story of bringing clean water to underprivileged towns. To do this, they formed a challenge: for each visitor who can walk the designed route carrying 80 pounds of water in Jerry cans, the water company will bring clean water to one person in Orissa, India.

Takeaway: Tell an unforgettable story. By having visitors literally walk the figurative journey that charity : water goes through to distribute clean water, an emotional bond is established between supporters and company. This is superb narrative collaboration. 

Related Guide: Guide to Trade Show Displays


Fusion-io built a mechanical bull, designed to look like a giant hard drive. Their message: let go of the hard drive and embrace solid-state memory. And they conveyed this message by allowing guests to have-a-go with the mechanical bull. Watch the video and see how Fusion-io “put the show back in trade show”.

Takeaway: Let your customers have fun and feel good. Building a mechanical bull might be outside your automotive skills and budget, but there are affordable and effective ways to engage your audience. Think about interactive technology that is available to you: like the iPad.

Polaroid Trade Show Display(Image Source: BizBash)


Skyline Exhibits shaped a great floor plan for Polaroid at CES 2011, filled with visually striking images reflecting their unique, vintage style. They erected two jumbo-screens framed in the legendary Polaroid white frame.

Takeaway: Don’t skimp on the visuals. Incorporate your logo and include a hefty amount of products illustrations.

(Image Source: Your Marketing BFF)

Off the Beaten Track

Off the Beaten Track is a travel-inspired footwear company, whose target audience is the globe-trotting, urban fashionista. Working with a small space, they allured their target audience by creating a mock campsite, with a chic airstream trailer, hanging swings, wooden and faux-natural accents.

Takeaway: If you’re working with a small space, use every square inch to convey your brand message. They transformed a traditional-sized space into something truly unique, speaking to the interests of their target demographic. Your display and graphics might be bright and visually striking, but if it’s not relevant to your buyers, you’ll miss out on event-specific sales.

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