17 August 2001
what exhibitors will do for an attendee to take those
extra three steps over to their booth.
Every year at
SIGGRAPH the Exhibition Hall is teeming with exhibitors ; studios,
companies, schools and services - who construct monumental booths,
boast raffles for great prizes, sacrifice millions of company dollars
in promotional giveaways, and even hire beautiful models in spandex
to strut all over the Exhibition Hall. Much to an exhibitor's chagrin,
these expensive practices guarantee only the momentary attention
of the attendee, who much of the time leaves as soon as he grabs
some free cool stuff and never thinks of the exhibitor again. But
in business, this is a necessary risk for that potentially useful
and highly valued attention. The exhibitors who master the balance
of sacrifice for attention grow to better compete with other exhibitors
for that attendee attention, and for the average attendee that can
only mean even more and cooler free stuff. So the lengths the exhibitors
will go to can get pretty amazing.
seems the traditional free T-shirt and candy doesn't cut it anymore.
Although booths giving shirts and edible things still have a place
on the SIGGRAPH exhibition floor, exhibitors have learned that it
constantly takes more to raise an attendee eyebrow. Over time, booths
have come to include free drinks, free demo CDs, and free pens among
others. This does more for the exhibitors than attract more attention,
however: It also sends forth a signal of business stability and
strength to the attendees and to the competition. Businesses strive
to generate a sense of security in their consumers, laborers, and
stockbrokers, while perhaps instilling a little fear in their business
rivals and favorably raising the stakes in the competition. So by
all means, exhibitors, play on!
picked up some noteworthy creativity among the booths after a quick
once-over of the Exhibition Hall. UCLA Extension puts a neat little
spin on the free candy bowl by baiting the bowl with fortune cookies
instead. On one side of the fortune is a quote, and on the other
side is their company name and contact information. Mine had a quote
from Mohammed "A man who has no imagination has no wings."
Well said and well done, UCLA Extension. Another art school, the
Expression Center for New Media, as well as booths such as Sony's,
were giving away mints in well designed mint boxes, personalized
for their respective exhibits and both small enough to fit any pocket.
Cycore Cult 3D was one of numerous booths giving out those round,
red-and-white striped mints, while Cycore sweetens the pot with
a free demo CD. Of course, the free demo CD is by no means a new
idea. Not to be outdone, Animaster gave out an Animaster 4.0 demo
CD, and on top of that, offered two very cool pen kits for three
dollars American. The steely version is $3, the transparent magenta
version free after purchasing two of the steel-looking version.
These pen sets are convenient to carry and downright easy on the
eyes, and for three dollars to one they're pretty close to perfect.
3D arguably had the most popular booth in all of SIGGRAPH 2001 Exhibition,
and that was thanks to their free muppet dolls. Talk about popular
giveaways: the largest mob of freeloading attendees I had witnessed
in the Exhibition Hall barged and walked coldly all over each other
to shave minutes off their waiting time in their hurry to run off
with a stuffed Jim Henson muppet. Apparently Pulse 3D has added
to the success of their free Kermit success last year by adding
Gonzo to the muppet choices this year. Both Kermit and Gonzo are
happily donning Pulse 3D pins on their chests. Although the Pulse
counters were visibly filled with Kermits and Gonzos, their faces
piteously crowded together and squashed against the glass showcases,
you can believe that they can run out of supplies by the end of
the day. Don't even ask about their pen supply.
was one of the many booths that went the contest raffle path. At
this booth, if you had your gray SIGGRAPH card swiped in, you were
automatically put in a drawing to win an iPAQ Pocket PC. Softimage,
along with a poster and a fully functional demo CD of Softimage
1.5, enters you in their NVIDIA Quadro DCC contest, all with the
swipe of your card. Then there were the booths built like Wonders
of the World. Booths like Alias/Wavefront, IBM, Pixar, and Square
were as tall and encompassing as some religious places of worship,
and they were true displays to their company's might. Some of these
booths didn't even have any contests, demo CDs, or cards, not even
one free shirt. Why? Because they don't need to do that anymore.
Biomorph definitely wasn't giving away a free desk, not even a paperweight.
The look of their booth and their mouthwatering computer desks were
running on pure coolness alone.
things on the show floor were the large LCDs at the NTT booth
and the IBM booth. The volume in a glass tube display using
the TI micromirror chips in the Actuality Systems booth and
the exoskeleton covering the entire forearm and all fingers
in the Immersion booth.
was busy wrangling reporters, I could not spend too long there,
so, I had to ask friends what was cool to see. -Y