Facebook First Drives Up Trade Show Attendance
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Facebook First Drives Up Trade Show Attendance

Ogilvy PR made GROHE, a luxury manufacturer of sanitary fittings, the stand out display at prestige events in London and Barcelona.

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Trade fairs are a mainstay of the design and architecture fraternity, and don’t they look it! Their predictable formats are out of step with a media savvy audience. Ogilvy PR made GROHE, a luxury manufacturer and supplier of sanitary fittings, the stand out display at prestige events in London and Barcelona, further elevating its reputation as thought leaders in design and innovation and increasing attendance by 30%.

What we were asked to do / the brief:

Every year GROHE exhibits at and/or sponsors major architecture and design industry events. London’s 100% Design, for example, is one of Europe’s leading design events, attended by over 20,000 design professionals. Meanwhile the World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Barcelona is the most prestigious architecture event in the world. Ogilvy PR was tasked with bringing more people – including media – to their stands and to amplify participation in such events using traditional and social media.

Highlight the challenge / what stood in our way:

How could GROHE’s stands get noticed at trade events where design and appearance of displays is taken so seriously? How could a stand be as innovative as the new products it is about to unveil? And could a trade show stand ever be remembered? Or revisited?

We needed to make GROHE shine bright amidst its competitors, and amplify the value of their sponsorship by extending the message beyond the attendees at the event itself - just a fraction of the design and architecture communities.

Research / Background:

Research shows that trade shows such as 100% Design and WAF are key to developing brand awareness and showcasing new products as well as driving new business for its exhibitors, where around 40% of visitors are expected to place orders within 6 months of attending the show (research from 100% Design London 2009 exit surveys).

Both events are highly regarded within the design and architect community. 100% Design London is billed as ‘the UK’s No. 1 contemporary interiors show’ and WAF is said to be the world’s most prestigious architect show.


The traditional trade show formula is stale and out of step with the demands of today’s technically sophisticated and future-focused design and architecture communities. Due to the increasing sophistication and demands of the audience, a traditional stand - no matter how elaborate its structural design – does not cut it.

We needed to work within set parameters to create an experience befitting the audience, both at the show and beyond. The need to create something exciting and with greater reach was compounded by the realisation that the attendees to such events were only a small proportion of the larger design and architect population that GROHE aimed to reach.


To position GROHE as a thought leader in the industry by being the most exciting and forward-thinking exhibitor at the show and to widen its reach by bringing the best of the show to designers who could not attend. In short, GROHE would be the “talk of the show”.

Ogilvy PR’s key strategic priorities were as follows:
- Interact with influencers and media to identify topics they care about and then provide the forum and platform for them to participate in the conversation.
- Establish a distinct, design focused thought leadership platform aligned with the new products being revealed or promoted and deliver it in a big way!
- Provide attendees with preview access to GROHE’s key launches and projects for 2011, and facilitate access to highlights of the shows for those who cannot attend.
- Design a programme that efficiently but uniquely creates content and experience before, during and after the event.


Introducing the GROHE Live Digital Studio— a mobile digital innovation that covered the show by publishing video interviews, blog posts, Tweets, Facebook updates and more throughout the events. Ogilvy PR’s social media reporters interviewed A-list participants at the shows—famous architects and designers, media personalities and, of course, GROHE leaders on hot topics for the architecture and design industries. Footage was edited on site to create GROHE branded thought leadership videos that were uploaded to GROHE’s social media platforms at the shows and shared with media and influencers afterwards. Ogilvy PR also sought to build anticipation ahead of the show through Facebook and Twitter content programme and influencer seeding.

At WAF, Ogilvy PR took the Live Digital Studio to a new level, giving architecture enthusiasts all over the world front row seats in the presentation hall at WAF with the first live video stream through Facebook. Ogilvy PR streamed eight hours of presentations from the world’s leading thinkers in architecture. The activity was supported by the GROHE Live Studio from a broadcast perspective which produced eight short thought leadership films featuring key industry figures at the show around hot topics, such as sustainability and the effect of the global economic downturn on architecture.


The results speak for themselves. Ogilvy PR met the brief to amplify participation in such events, with a very happy client and a new model forged for the future. Following the Live Digital Studio activity monthly active users on GROHE’s Facebook page more than doubled and visits to the page increased by 87%.

The live stream from WAF was viewed over 1,700 times with an average viewing time of 9 minutes and increased ‘attendance’ at the event by 30%. Ogilvy PR conducted over 30 interviews with the GROHE Live Studio and produced over 20 final video edits hosted on the GROHE design YouTube channel and Facebook page. The GROHE Live Studio also produced bespoke video edits on request for key media.

Following these events the Live Digital Studio model has been adopted by GROHE for all future major trade shows. “Using video as a tool to drive awareness of an event has been groundbreaking for us and is a model we will copy around the world.” Paul Watson, General Manager, GROHE UK.

Ogilvy PR certainly achieved their aim to be ‘the talk of the show’ with media reaction equally as positive. Coverage was secured in key industry publications such as Grand Designs and Ideal Home. Journalist reactions include:

“The GROHE stand at 100% Design was one of the most exciting of the show”
Martin Allen-Smith, Editor, The Designer

“The Live Studio was a nice touch, I very much enjoyed participating and viewing the final films” Carmel Allen, Acting Editor, Living etc


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