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Contests and Challenges at 2016 Outdoor Adventure Show
dumpdigger, antique, archeology, social marketing
The photos and stories below were collected at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show 19-21 February and they tell a story about how companies advertise themselves and try to collect personal information from attendees at modern trade shows.

There’s more information about many of the business glimpsed here and even a close up of the ingredients in D&D Meats salami in the article about the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Show on Toronto Guardian. But this blog is about The Pitch and presentation of a business at a public facing niche gathering that is a modern business tradeshow.

The most popular public engagement tactics witnessed at the Outdoor Adventure Show were mostly embedded in easy-to-enter sweepstakes and puzzle assembly or scavenger hunt contests. The difference being that sweepstakes are simply a draw while contests require the cointestant take some meaningful action and show some skill. Thats why some draws have a skill testing question - they need to separate themselves from the legislation governing sweepstakes which is a little more heavily scrutinized by federal than skill-to-win contests.

Vendors without proper websites would often resort to using paper sign up sheets, while more advanced exhibitors had ipads or better yet they had mobile contest apps. They asked folks to sign up on their phones. These sophisticated merchants rewarded people who could get to a particular screen on the app with an entry code or key. Many radio stations and travel agencies ran contests that required entrants to physically show up at the trade show to validate their tickets and confirm their entry into the competition. The lady pictured above was so keen on her own challenge that she was charging ten dollars per entry, and you can see that by Saturday at 1pm - half way through the three day weekend exhibition she still only had less than a dozen entries.

Look at some of the other contests we noticed at the show, There are even more pictures and a video of the show in this article about the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Show on Life as a Human.

The image to the right shows the Grey Owl Adventures contest which brought many entrants to the show with hopes of winning an eight day all expenses paid excursion into the wilderness of Northern Ontario.

Below are the proprietors of Wild Women Expeditions who dreamed up a novel approach by having contest entrants sign their wooden canoe paddle and whomever had the catchiest signature slogan would be the winner of their free membership prize.  This is actually a rather strange organization that only designs and executes canoe and hiking trips for women. I wonder if the contest is rigged? What if a man snuck in and wrote the best slogan without them noticing? What would happen then?

Wild Women Expeditions at the 2016 Outside Adventure Show in Toronto
Wild Women Magazine is a lifestyle magazine illuminating the editors' and contributors' relationship with nature. They imagine a deep primal source that nourishes, liberates and frees their spirits from the constraints of civilization and the shackles of our modern “polite” society. The stories inside are a refuge, an escape from urban concrete into a lush, living secret garden, feral and full of magic. The periodical is an expression of the way women move in the wild world, following natural rhythms and coming together in community.

Wild Women favour cooperation over competition, connection and compassion to ego and fear. They are bold and brave adventurers and warriors who protect what they love and are deeply dedicated to conservation of wild places and strive to step lightly on the land, leaving gentle footprints in their wake. I got most of that from their website.

All across this convention business owners and executives rented booths to advertise services, display products, sell franchises, license agents, sign up new dealers, and of course meet consumers. They were all here to do business. They know that making a good appearance at a busy trade show like this can yield a lot of strong relationships which is key to the success of any venture. Advanced engagement tactics can double or triple the volume of interactions and possibly even increase the quality of each encounter.

As described on HeadsUp Dad, The Outdoor Adventure Show is for Kids, vendors are keenly aware they need to offer distractions when it comes to attracting young families.

Rapid Kayak Buyers Guide Best Free Online

The guys at Rapid Media gave me an insider link to a free version of 2016 kayak buyer’s guide online. which was considered one of the big secrets of the show. Rapid Media had some all-ages engagement strategies at play, and in the age of shareable moments the magazine title cardboard cutouts were really busy, especially the ‘Wild Women’ Adventure Kayak magazine cutout

Xcitelife Engagement Was Powered by Charisma and Contests

One of the best engagement tactics witnessed at the show is meeting people by force of personality; putting attractive people in distinctive clothing and making them available for conversations is destined to be successful. It never fails.

New people at the show were sure curious about the crew dressed entirely in black with red Xs across their chests. People got even more excited when they discovered the long list of fun things to do at Xcitelife. The active adventure company were real eager to show off their dynamic ‘sharing economy’ business model. Charismatic greeters stood under company signage drumming up excitement for their new age experience marketplace.

Xcitelife had great success signing up many new users by offering a free vacation contest offering tied to a new outlook on life. Like most revolutionary new business concepts Xcitelife also dispenses a new more satisfying state of mind. New members were asked to write their dream vacation aspirations on red paper X’s which the Xcitelifers pinned to their giant dream board.

The 6×6 cork board soon displayed the travel fantasies of the entire trade show, and it was from this soft wooden pane that a prize winner was eventually selected. “Everyone wants to live an Xciting life, but too often folks get stuck in the ordinary” says Paul Peic. “At Xcitelife we’ve made it our mission to transform lives through experiences.”

There were over 300 dealers and over thirty thousand attendees at the three day long show in Toronto.  Many memories were made and deals were struck.

In summary, there are many ways to meet people at tradeshows and this show is no different than a big tech conference or a health retreat 0\- its kind of a combination of the two. Vendors here distribute branded items, talk about their products, and do everything possible to scan attendees' badges with lead retrieval scanners. Most companies here use the same trade show tactics as each other, and most attendees have probably already forgeten who was who. Above are the folks who stood pout and made meaningful impressions than their competitors and their brand logos and pitches will stay on attendees' brains long after the event is over.