The show will go on
I am told I should expect sore feet at Paperworld. After three days I may want to even have them amputated because this show is big in the way that Everest is big.
But that’s how it’s done in Germany, arguably the spiritual home of industry events.
Few countries match its range of venues and infrastructure and the reason is an historic one. The construction of the ‘Messe’ venues in cities such as Hamburg, Frankurt, Düsseldorf and Munich were pivotal to the growth of (West) Germany as an industrial and economic powerhouse in the middle of the last century.
Built as vast complexes, they provided the fulcrum on which entire industries could spin and, as thousands of visitors poured in, entire cities were re-generated.
However in the past ten years (despite favourable economic conditions) in almost all other mature industries, large trade shows have been in decline.
Visitor numbers are falling and increasingly exhibitors stare at their invoices from freight handlers, organisers and the catering company that provided the wrapped mints wondering if they should have bothered bringing out the contract sheets at all.
It’s not helped that large manufacturers and brand leaders in their fields are pulling support of their industry shows altogether, preferring smaller regional shows in emerging markets. Predictably when this happens the final decline of even the longest running shows is inevitable. Even Apple doesn’t support its own show, Macworld, anymore.
I don’t expect that even the mighty Paperworld will be immune to such pressures in the future.
The cost of exhibiting, not the above-the-line cost of buying stand space but the cost of shipping your wares and people across continents, will continue to rise. The amount of potential new faces you can meet will fall.
But for the moment, why don’t we just enjoy the fact that we have a show of this size in all its unwieldy, impractical glory. Because the value of being able to crisscross a significant number of clients, associates and friends in such a compact amount of time cannot be underestimated. Even more so in a time of tightening purse strings and travel budgets.
While some of us may be nursing blisters in the first week of February, let’s still be grateful that we have somewhere to go and kick off another year.
Despite the full OPI team descending on the halls, I am sure we are going to struggle to see everybody but if you do want to meet any of the guys from editorial or sales please come along to our stand in Hall 4.1, FOY 10. We will be publishing a review of Paperworld in the next issue so if you are planning on launching a new product or releasing news at the event please drop by and let us know.
I am especially keen to meet anyone who can recommend somewhere to pick up blister plasters.