backpackWhen Nissan wanted to introduce their Xterra SUV at the North American International Auto Show, they decided to drive it out of a giant blue backpack! When reporters arrived at the event, they received media kits in regular-sized backpacks, just like the one on stage, bearing the Nissan logo. Then, with video, music and fanfare, the backpack began to “squirm.” Soon, the vehicle appeared out of the 25-foot tall backpack, symbolizing how the Xterra was a “backpack on wheels.”
backpack2How do you pull together an event of this magnitude? Nissan turned to the George P. Johnson Company to design the media event. The first step was to talk about the Xterra and brainstorm a theme that would illustrate the “personality” of the vehicle. Once they decided on the backpack concept, GPJ staff went shopping for the “model” backpack that would match the target audience, according to Chris Murphy of GPJ Co. The final oversized model was a scaled replica, because “it’s important to stay as close to the actual details as possible,” Murphy said, noting how even small details like the zipper pulls become huge.

Although the giant backpack is in storage now, after the NAIA Show it was sent to the Smyrna plant, where the first Xterra to come off the assembly line was also driven out of it with great fanfare.

(Photos courtesy of George P. Johnson Co. and Nissan)

(All of the above are excerpts from Build a Better Trade Show Image, © 2002 by Marlys K. Arnold. All rights reserved.)