Creating a buzz at Europe’s largest electronics event

RS Components are the World’s largest online distributor of electronic and electrical components. Every two years the entire industry gathers in Munich for an event of such scale and magnitude that one has to visit to believe. The event is Electronica and it’s an opportunity for the industry’s Goliath’s to show off their wares to the hundreds of thousands of customers that attend over the four-day event. As with tradeshows in any industry, the challenge is to stand out amongst competitors and at an event of this size, that challenge is a daunting one.

RS Components approached Austella with the ambition to create something more fun than the often sterile stands that adorn the halls of the Munich Messe, but something that still related back to their core product offer. The business objective was to generate 10,000 sales leads over the course of the event and a ‘softer’ aim to create positive sentiment that remained post-event. A final objective was to generate co-funding from their supplier partners to ensure the project was cost-neutral.

The Solution

We settled on the idea of using games, specifically charting the progression of games through the decades from the 70’s through to latter day, and how this evolution has been driven to a large extent by the electronics that power the computers and consoles.
We selected a high-selling title from each decade and designed a specific gaming cabinet to house the game and the platform upon it was launched. An LED-backlit window in each gaming cabinet allowed visitors to see the electronics that powered those consoles.

Specifically, we chose:
70’s: Space Invaders and the Atari 2600
80’s: Super Mario Bros and the Nintendo Entertainment System
90’s: Sonic The Hedgehog and the Sega Megadrive
00’s: Minecraft and the Raspberry Pi
Each cabinet was co-funded by a supplier and their respective branding applied.

Extending above the cabinets was a graphic detailing the release timeline of the gaming consoles, referring to the main processor unit within those consoles and the date RS Components stocked the processors for their customers to purchase.

Bringing the gaming evolution to modern day, VR was the obvious choice for the current decade.
The brief for the VR game was –

– to highlight a core competency of the company
– simple mechanics to engage gamers and non-gamers alike
– to enable a high through-put of visitors i.e. a 2-3 minute experience
– enable co-branding for their supplier partners
– to allow visitors to play at home

The resultant game, RS Pallet Panic, puts users in the shoes of a warehouse manager, responsible for distributing coloured pallets to the correct colour-matched exit chute. The game was delivered on-stand via the Samsung GearVR headset and a version made available for Cardboard VR that can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play .

To create the buzz around the event halls, Austella supplied RS Components-branded cardboard headsets. The headsets were a critical part of the success as they were seen across the event location in meeting rooms, cafeterias, and even on competitor stands, providing that magical “where did you get that from, I need one of those” responses that drew the crowds to the RS Components stand.

Results

Over the four-day event, RS Components more than achieved their objectives of lead generation having collected more than 12,000 sales leads. Subsequent to the event, and at time of writing, RS Pallet Panic has received more than 20,000 downloads across iOS and Android platforms, leading to over 2,000 posts across the associated Facebook community page and RS’ own community, DesignSpark.