Sometimes you just need more than a fridge magnet to draw a crowd at an
exhibit. How about the whole fridge? Chicago's favorite refrigerator-former
Chicago Bears player William "Fridge" Perry-continues to help draw much
attention to the Big Ass Fans (www.bigassfans.com) booth on Wednesday when
he stopped by and autographed for his followers.
"Everybody says we have a cult following," Big Ass Fans' John Pennycuff says,
adding that Perry often travels with the company to trade events nationwide.
"We've had such good responses that we stayed so busy pretty much the whole
Some exhibitors of this year's National Manufacturing Week have expressed
disappointment over the attendance, however, even though the organizer says
pre-registrations have grown from last year. Official figures will be released
later this week, the organizer adds.
In addition, Big Ass Fans also features another attention-grabber that always
travels with the company-a stuffed donkey hanging down from the ceiling and
flying backward in a circle, staring at its own rear.
"We do draw a lot of attention," contends Bill Buell of Big Ass Fans
marketing, "especially with the name Big Ass."
Even those that lack the touch of novelty could still woo a big crowd if the
names are well known enough, comments Tracy Brewer, Trade Show Manager of
Grainger (www.grainger.com).† Using
only conventional trade show gimmicks such as freebies and raffles, the company
has managed to attract a significant number of attendees, Brewer says.
"We have our own suppliers here," she adds. "We have knowledgeable staffs and
lots of interactive things. We have received 6,000 surveys this year compared to
5,800 last year."
ENCHANTE: Former Chicago Bears defensive
player William "Fridge" Perry signs autographs at the Big Ass Fans booth
on Tuesday. The sports star has been traveling with the company to trade
shows over the years, drawing a cult-like following, says Big Ass Fans'
John Pennycuff. At right, one of the Big Ass fans with the flying