Tradeshow Case Study: Inova’s Graffiti Wall

The Challenge: Maltbie and Associates ( has been in the tradeshow exhibit industry for 40 years, but they are better known for their museum exhibits. At the recent Exhibitor Show they launched a new name for the tradeshow division — Inova Exhibit Projects — and a new tag line — inspiration, invention and innovation.

The Solution: Low-tech creativity and high-touch interactivity combined to make Inova shine. “If you offer people an activity, you get a lot more time to qualify them as a lead, and people are a lot more receptive to interacting with booth personnel,” says George Mayer, VP of Maltbie’s Inova Division. Wanting to do something a “little out of the norm” Mayer’s team came up with the graffiti wall, “hoping people would be inspired, to share … their own creativity.”

“We had a sense that the graffiti wall would play well with this audience. They’re there to have fun, and to learn. We wanted something that would set the Inova Booth apart. We also had to contend with the fact that we had a 10′ x 20′ space, and some of our competitors had 20′ or 30′ by 40′ spaces,” says Mayer. Adds VP Walt Rich, “225 people wrote on our wall.” “By day three we were running out of space,” says Mayer.

“The concept was really a group effort, done in house by a design staff of five. It included a new logo, collateral, [a direct mail] invitation. A lot of the ideas came from the sales staff,” says Rich. “We were very happy with the results. We couldn’t have done any better than this,” reports Mayer.

Originally published in SAM Magazine in July 2001.

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