Chrome Industries wows Interbike with experiential trade show booth

Gear Interbike

In an attempt to grab attention and up booth traffic many trade show exhibitors go for the trite-and-true–glitz, hype and boobs. Bag/shoe/clothing brand Chrome Industries takes a decidedly and refreshingly different tack, leaving the clichés behind and creating a brand experience that’s on another level. With interactive product displays, tune-spinning DJs, manufacturing demos, and a veritable in-booth art show, Chrome creates a comfortable and inviting environment that makes doing business–or taking a load off, which they invite you to do–comfortable, engaging and fun.

“I have to say the Chrome booth is by far the coolest booth at the show,” said an employee of a direct competitor who asked not to be identified. “When you see the energy and enthusiasm happening there, everything else seems kinda lame.”

As if the vibe wasn’t enough, Chrome added a social element to their booth, collecting donations for the New York Injured Messenger Relief Fund in exchange for printed-on-site t-shirts, as well as late afternoon beverages.

The space really came to life with live production demos. One worker demonstrated the shoe soul vulcanization process in one area of the booth while seamstresses sewed bags together in another.

Interactive displays like a hand pumped peeing cherub fountain to test out the water resistance of their rucksacks, and a do-it-yourself button-making station encouraged booth visitors to participate and engage with the brand.

Chrome along with PR firm ECHOS founded the Urban Cycling Hall of Fame earlier this year and brought it to Interbike as part of their booth. Through a selection committee, an online nomination system, and by collecting artifacts, nominations and stories through Chrome’s road show motorhome, the organization seeks to honor notable contributions to the urban cycling culture.

Chrome kept their merchandising basic and clean using industrial materials like scaffolding, shipping pallets and plywood for fixturing and display tables. Sharpie markers on masking tape called out product names and features.

Throughout the booth, Chrome utilized product components as booth design elements. Straps and buckles from messenger bags provided a tasteful brand statement while functioning as a room divider.

UPDATE: Chrome Industries President Steve McCallion shows talks us through three initiatives for the coming year–their forged rubber process used on shoes, knurled welding to create waterproof bike bags, and Chrome Motor–a whole new line of bags for the motorcycling.

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Chrome Industries wows Interbike with experiential trade show booth Gallery
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Chrome - Knurled Welding makes waterproof bags

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Chrome Motor - bags for motorcycle riders

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Chrome Motor - vintage CB

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Chrome - panniers and bike bags

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Chrome - waterproof testing

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Chrome - war era boot building machine

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Chrome Motor

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Chrome 2013 Interbike Booth

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T-Shirt/Beer Booth

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Shoe Production

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Sewing Machine

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Cherub Pump/Button Maker

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Urban Cycling Hall of Fame

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Inner Booth/Merch

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Wall of Belt Straps

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.


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