Last week, I spent a good part of my time at the “Gadget Show Live” in Birmingham, which reflects how huge the market for gadgets really is. The show was probably at least four times bigger than last year! It’s a fun place to be, surrounded by loads of the most diverse useful and useless gadgets and innovations, and above all a great day out.
For me, it’s always fun to do shows in the UK as they are so different to the ones in Germany where, as a rule, people still expect loads of freebies and will go to any lengths to get them. In the UK, however, it’s a bit more relaxed – fewer half naked booth girls, fewer end-users that are not interested in what you do but want a free pen, and less stress from the show organizers if your TV screen happens to extend half an inch outside your allocated stand space – overall just more relaxed.
What felt a bit alien though was the big plug that was being made for the Gadget Show itself. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Gadget Show, I like the presenters, I think it’s fun and fair enough that they organise the show and want to plug the TV show, but some things just went a bit too far for me. Having done consumer and trade shows in Central Europe on a regular basis I found it highly unprofessional of the organisers to add an extra day to the show (only 2 months before the actual show), just because the other days were already sold out. Many companies at the Gadget Show are not actually that big and have to literally close their offices while they are at the show. I spoke to a few exhibitors and they all agreed with me. So to have to miss one extra day from their office bases without even being asked is quite harsh. Another thing that went too far for me, was the exaggerated number of Gadget Show merchandise shops, where you could buy all manner of Gadget Show T-shirts, mugs, key rings and God knows what else. Perhaps it’s just me being German, but that just smacked a bit too much of plugging your own show for me. But hey ho, looks like they can get away with it, especially as they are the only gadgetry style exhibition in the UK and have a big and growing market behind it. But don’t get the wrong impression here. I definitely enjoyed my stay at the Gadget Show and a big thanks to Dane-Elec for having me. It was enjoyable and fun, good to engage with people and finally meet some guys from the Zpen Facebook fan page face to face.
Hopefully I’ll be up in Birmingham again next year.