PLENARY The SAAC Show Q HELI-EXPO Q Death: Southbank Centre’s Festival for the Living
PRE CON SAAC Show Is ‘Made in USA’
MEETING: The 2012 SAAC (Specialty Advertis- ing Association of California) Show, meeting Aug. 8–9 at the Long Beach Convention Center. A B2B trade show for the promotional prod- ucts industry, the SAAC Show offers suppliers the opportunity to exhibit their wares — “any- thing you can put a company name on,” SAAC Executive Director Nancy Phillips said — to buyers, giving both sides a final sales push dur- ing the year’s “second selling season.”
CHALLENGES: One of the goals for the 2012 SAAC Show, as it has been for the past few years, is to get attendee and exhibitor numbers back up to pre-2009 levels. Last year’s SAAC Show had 500 exhibitor booths and 2,100 qualified attendees — whereas the peak level, prior to the global financial crisis, was about 800 booths and 3,000 attendees. SAAC’s target this year is 550 exhibitors. In achieving that number, “One of the challenges we face is mergers and acquisitions,” Phillips said, “where companies that had three or four booths are being bought out, and maybe now they only have one or two booths.” Meanwhile, SAAC Show attendance is sub- ject to downward pressure from the associa- tion itself, which in recent years has empha- sized qualifying its attendees. “They need to show evidence that they are current promo- tional products distributors,” Phillips said. In the promotional products industry, undesirable attendees are known as “trick-or-treaters,” in recognition of their penchant for flitting around the trade-show floor, grabbing every giveaway they can carry, and then sticking SAAC with the bill to ship everything back home.
THERE’S A MEETING FOR THAT? It’s a Dead Man’s Party
DEATH — SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S FESTIVAL FOR THE LIVING: “Death, be not proud,” poet John Donne wrote. Indeed, how proud can you be when there’s an entire festival dedi- cated to subverting your fearsome influence with four days of music, storytelling, exhibi- tions, film, and lectures? Held on Jan. 27–30 at London’s Southbank Centre, the Death festival (1) featured a performance by Petra Jean Phillipson (2) of songs from her album “Notes on Death”; a display of custom-made coffins, including one shaped like a garbage bin (3); and artist Candy Chang’s interactive installation “Before I Die” (4).
LABELED: The SAAC Show is a market for “anything you can put a company name on.”
SAAC exhibitors have been pleased with the association’s efforts in this arena. “When we started really qualifying the attendees,” Phillips said, “exhibitors would say, ‘The [attendance] numbers are down, but the quality is way up.’”
INITIATIVES: Besides SAAC’s ongoing focus on attendee quality and attracting new exhibi- tors, the show also will be expanding its educa- tional offerings, which take place in a two-hour continued on page 20
HELI-EXPO 2012: One of the hundred largest trade shows in the
United States, Helicop- ter Association Inter- national’s HELI-EXPO 2012 sprawled across
one million square feet of exhibit and meeting space at the Dallas Convention Center on Feb. 11–14. The show’s record 19,239 attend- ees had access to
more than 650 exhibi- tors and more than 60 helicopters — includ- ing the Eurocopter EC135 T2.