Too much screentime is bad for you – and your stand


IBC is one of the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology shows. Taking place in Amsterdam on an annual basis, it draws over 55,000 attendees from 170 countries, with 1700 exhibitors over five days. 32% of visitors are senior decision-makers (C-suite, VP, EVP, director and above) so exhibitors see this event as a real opportunity to build relationships, stand out from their competitors and create big impact.

What a shame, then, that we saw a general lack of creative flair across so many stands. Given the investment exhibitors are making in attending events like IBC, it’s such a disappointment that the money isn’t helping them differentiate themselves and provide a phenomenal experience for visitors to their stands.

We know we see a lot of stands – it’s our job after all – but usually we see many that at least catch our attention and make us want to know more. Sadly, there were very few IBC stands that piqued our interest this year. Why?

Well, there was a huge dependence on screens. We all know that amazing graphics can draw the eye and attract people to your stand but the whole point of an exhibition is to help you interact with other people and make connections. Over-dependence on big screens can really get in the way of good conversations. This is lazy design.

Similarly, we saw lots of poor flow dynamics and the ineffective use of space. Little thought had been given to the journey and experience exhibitors wanted to give visitors when they stepped up into a brand new world (i.e. the exhibition stand).

Where do you want them to look first? How do you want them to move from one space to another? Which hot-spots will be areas of key focus? Where can they comfortably stand or sit for a while to enjoy good conversations with representatives from the exhibitor’s company? Few of these questions had been considered in our view, leading to the bunching of visitors, areas of stands being completely devoid of footfall and people not feeling relaxed enough to stay a while and talk.

Of course we’re biased but our client, Akamai, had a great example of a stand that created a huge environment to showcase products and technology, a welcome area for all visitors, plenty of freespace for general milling and casual conversations as well as several private meeting rooms for planned interactions. It was a hit.

Likewise, Vizrt’s stand boasted similar features as well as dramatic lighting and high seating areas to create zones of interest around the available space.

As it’s such a high profile event, we’re really hoping that exhibitors are already taking the time to carefully plan how they might best create the best and biggest experiences for visitors at next year’s IBC.