Households across the U.S. love the classic television show, M*A*S*H – whether you watched it on primetime or reruns following the debut of the show in 1972. Iconic characters such as Hawkeye, Maxwell Q. Klinger, Radar, and "Hot Lips" brought smiles to our faces and laughs to our bellies.
When ILTACON announced that the theme of their 2019 show would be "A Whole New World of Possibilities – a Journey Through Classic TV," AccessData jumped on the opportunity. They came up with a M*A*S*H themed booth that won the hearts of attendees across the hall.
"Everyone came up with some great ideas, but it was one of our account executives, Kristy Glazebrook, who first thought of M*A*S*H," said Lori Tyler, Vice President of Global Marketing for AccessData. "I ultimately chose it for a number of reasons. First, it's M*A*S*H! It's the epitome of 'classic TV' -- a show that everyone knows, with beloved and recognizable characters. But also because I believed MASH offered a perfect messaging platform with the staying power needed to maintain attendee interest all week."
Featuring the iconic wayfinder sign, which points in the direction of classic locations, "sandy" terrain with rock props, branded graphics, themed giveaways, and a vintage countertop styled with retro Christmas lights set the scene for AccessData. The most astonishing piece of the booth was the digitally printed, "dirt" floor.
"The flooring Exhibit Concepts produced is what really made this booth. Our floor looked like the sandy, rocky terrain in the show. It's what helped us move the booth so over the top," said Debbie Brizendine, Event Support Contractor for AccessData.
Aside from the most apparent design details, the GES set-up team and Exhibit Concepts made sure even the smaller touches were perfect, such as the wiring matching the floor color, lining up the rock props with the print, and making legs for the counter so that it would sit over an extension cord.
"The teamwork between our Account Specialist, Jeanine [Gross], and I was amazing. She paid attention to every detail and made great suggestions. It wasn't about assigning tasks; it was 'what do we need next?' It was true teamwork," said Brizendine.
AccessData even styled their booth staff to match the theme. The sales team coordinated with matching olive green shirts, while some took a more overt approach by dressing up as their favorite characters. Attendees loved seeing Hawkeye and Radar working the booth!
Photo Provided by AccessDataAccessData also brought the real deal: Jamie Farr, who played fan-favorite Sgt. Maxwell Q. Klinger drew attendees into the booth with his friendly, magnetic nature.
"We totally won having Jamie Farr join us. He was the perfect celebrity guest. He took the time to find out about each visitor by asking where they were from or about their memories of the show. He would spend at least a minute or two with each person. He made everyone feel so special. Just watching it was the coolest thing," said Brizendine.
Photo Provided by AccessData
When Farr was not in the booth, AccessData kept the vibes undoubtedly M*A*S*H with themed giveaway items. Attendees could pick up cigars hand-rolled by a professional, army green notebooks and pens, and other branded goodies during their visit.
"Before the ILTA team brought the award to us, Lori already had the 'We Won!' sign printed and ready to go," Brizendine said with laughter.
"We spoke to over 100 attendees during opening reception night alone and ended up with 200 new contacts in total, who wanted to follow up on our products showcased during the show. We also generated a huge buzz, which lasted all week and beyond," said Tyler.
This experience goes to show that flashy technology and large, open spaces are not what draw people into your booth. It's making human connections and creating something that will stick with people for a long time. Just like our favorite, beloved M*A*S*H characters did.