Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Safety on the Trade Show Floor

When the Society of Petroleum Engineers had its annual meeting in San Antonio recently, one of the exhibitors at the trade show was a company from Alberta called Katch Kan. Among their products is something called the Zero Spill System. It's used in offshore drilling settings to prevent spills in the workplace.

They had a unique giveaway item at the show: they called it the "Mini Zero Spill System." Here's a picture:

I guarantee you that people were talking about it. (My SO, who works in this industry, came home from the meeting and handed me one and said "Check this out!")

Okay, it's not an item I'd use at every trade show. But this is one that's very male dominated and pretty informal. I'm sure some people were offended... but I walked the floor at another event in the same industry and one exhibitor (from Brazil) had a booth that featured scantily-clad women dancing to Brazilian music for no reason other than to get guys to stop long enough to take a brochure, so it's not like this was something totally out of line for the crowd.

I don't know the marketers at Katch Kan, but I give them credit for running with the idea. It relates to what their product does (in a conceptual way), and I have no doubt that people remember them. Usually these kinds of ideas get shut down in a meeting somewhere because someone says "We can't do that!" It's worth stopping and saying, "Well, why not?"

Sometimes there's a good reason, and you shouldn't do it. But be sure you figure out what that reason is before you say no.

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