Creating a new feature concept at exhibitions

DSC_5079Like most features at Media 10, the initial ideas come straight from the top. Normally what is presented on site on opening day bares very little resemblance to the initial concept.

Each idea battles along the way, some fall under the demands of a sponsor, others are challenged by available space and some are simply just trying to achieve something outside the realms of reality/feasibility. (For those wondering, apparently having a tank at Excel London doing a live test of an indestructible piece of glass is just not feasible – but I’ll show them one day!)

If the idea is strong enough it will sail through unscaved, enter the Only Fools and Horses refit of 2013…

Following the great success of the recreation of Ken and Deidre’s home in No.1 Coronation Street in 2011 at the Ideal Home Show, we knew what would tickle our visitors’ fancy.

stan-troterovihThe idea was originally intended for 2012, but a delay with the BBC left us only two weeks to deliver, so it was decided that some things grow better with age – and thank god we did!

The initial concept was merely to recreate wheeler and dealer Del Boy’s Lounge – a static, museum-like set with no real purpose. But after announcing the experience online the response dictated something more impressive.

We hit the phones for over a week, long conversations with agents, set designers, the BBC and even the chair of the Only Fools and Horses fan association. The latter was like striking gold; following a lengthy conversation about ‘the best ever scenes of only fools and horses’ and by lengthy I mean, well over two hours… The man revealed that not only was he a super-fan, but on completing the last episode of the sitcom the BBC had given him all the props.

A garage, loft and garden shed was an Aladdin’s cave of all things Del Boy! “Del’s hand glider is in there somewhere” has to be one of my best quotes of all time.

77acaa1c7d96742157eeb76fca11f513_originThis lucky find allowed us to grow the idea. Everything was considered, a high rise block of flats in our Show Village, an Only Fools and Horses exhibition within our exhibition. But then, we got there… We thought about why our visitor comes to the show.

Visitors attend the Ideal Home Show for ideas and inspiration. Will they really pull inspiration from looking at Del Boy’s ‘individual’ taste? The simple answer: No.

The Only Fools and Horses Refit was born, a visitor attraction that let’s our visitors enjoy the nostalgia of the original set and then see the space completely re-designed by TV architect George Clarke.

Del Boy had a complete makeover, gone was the cocktail bar and psychedelic curtains. Replaced with bi-fold doors and multifunctional furniture to utilise all space.

article-2293867-18AFB421000005DC-271_964x631It featured free ‘Malibu and Cherryade’ cocktails for the waiting public, a Del lookalike, a ribbon cutting from Boycie himself and even an opportunity to take a picture in the famous ‘chandelier’ scene. It was very successful – a permanent queue – great press coverage and a win at the Exhibition News Awards! Boom.

This project could have been very different. It could have been too big, too small or completely unmemorable…

I guess the moral of the story is one thing… Remember your visitor.

Some visitor attractions get changed so much through time you forget about why they are there, and the customer is king afterall. If that feature does not get remembered post show in the minds of the visitor then is it really worth doing?

And now for a summary, when creating a new feature concept we ask ourselves five things:

  1. Will the visitor remember it?
  2. Will it sell us tickets?
  3. Is it newsworthy?
  4. Is it sponsorable?
  5. Or is the idea just so damn good you’re going to do it anyway…


Anthony GoodeyGuest post from Anthony Goodey, Group Event and Features Coordinator at Media 10.

Media 10 is a young, vibrant and multi-award winning publishing and events company based in Loughton, Essex. The firm’s event portfolio comprises 100% Design, 100% Optical, Clerkenwell Design Week, Grand Designs Live, UK Construction Week among others.

Follow Media 10 on Twitter @Media_10 or visit their website

For entertainment value or for more top tips on feature content, follow Anthony on Twitter at @AnthonyGoodey.


What do you think eventprofs? How do you choose your feature areas at exhibitions? Where do you find inspiration? Send us an email to with your thoughts, or tweet us at @weblogevents.

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