Senses went into overdrive during the 82nd annual International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailer tradeshow July 19-23 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, as exhibitors and attendees treated themselves to the best of the cigar industry’s offerings.
Some kicked back in a Colombian café, got wild in an Amazon jungle, relaxed at a bar in the Dominican Republic or took a walk through time to see the evolution of cigars as several exhibitors, such as General Cigar and Foundry, provided multiple themed areas to best represent the company’s different brands.
Even though there was a cloud of smoke in the air, one thing was clear – the show was going well and attendees were happy. Behind the scenes of the show, there are those dedicated to making sure exhibitors’ only worry is to show up and market their product.
Joe Brosnan, a senior account manager from Hill & Partners, has been in the industry for more than 15 years, and knows a thing or two about show move in, move out and everything in between.
Starting around five months prior to a show, Brosnan begins steady contact with clients to determine exact needs for the creation of a specific brand environment based on the company’s goal for that specific product. This is where questions have to be asked regarding color schemes and design specifics to nail down the overall look and feel of an exhibit and how it promotes their product.
After the planning, design and sourcing of materials is complete, ensuring everything goes smoothly on the show floor is of paramount importance.
“It’s all about the planning, so I like to say that everything has to start from the ground up,” Brosnan said. “From the electrical to the carpet to when you start actually building the exhibit. If something goes wrong with the electrical wiring, everything else from that point on could go wrong also.”
Similar to a domino effect, exhibit installation and dismantle can be executed smoothly if all the right parts are in place, but can be held up if not, meaning every little detail throughout the build, including labor schedules and availability of equipment, have to be nailed down to a tee.
General Cigar, one of the IPCPR’s largest exhibitors with a little more than 8,000-square-feet of exhibit space, has 18 unique brands of cigars – a handful of which had over the top design elements to promote their latest cigar lines to attendees.
Vast differences had to be demonstrated between the brands, which is where Brosnan and his team came in, with General Cigar, Foundry, La Palina and Kristoff cigar companies as clients on the show floor.
“The hardest part of this show was the rigging with scheduling and timing for the equipment,” Brosnan said, pointing to the large hanging signs above several of the exhibits.
Considerations also had to be made in the design for things such as storage space, food and beverage areas, meeting tables – things that all require specific needs such as phone and internet lines or appropriate waste areas.
Themed brands within General Cigar’s large exhibit space showcased products specifically aimed at target audiences such as high-end cigars, holiday or exotic flavors and casual smoking. Other exhibitors – such as Foundry, showcased the evolution of cigars through time, or Kristoff, which focused on a casual lounge environment throughout the booth.
While installation and dismantle companies may only have two days to move their exhibits and equipment out of the convention space, the effects of the show and its thousands of visitors likely lingered longer.
Hosted by the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Assocation, IPCPR is the oldest, largest and most active trade association representing and assisting premium retail tobacconists and their suppliers.
For more information on Hill & Partners, visit http://hillpartners.com/