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ACE Awards Salute Best Booths

NAB recognizes efforts and creativity of exhibitors

Officials of Harris, top, and Sennheiser, celebrate last year’s ACE wins.
The NAB Show will sponsor the second ACE Awards, to recognize “Awesome Cool Exhibits” at the 2013 event in Las Vegas.

The awards are the brainchild of Steve Hayes, chair of the NAB exhibitor advisory committee, who knew that other conventions used this technique to recognize exhibitors.

This year, the committee and NAB are trying to drum up more awareness and enthusiasm for the ACE awards, which, after all, are about recognizing exhibitors’ efforts, says Diana Stokey, the director of Web marketing for Media Monitors, RCS and Florical Systems and a member of the advisory committee.

“The advisory committee is 100 percent about the exhibitors, and I’m really very impressed with how much NAB listens to us,” Stokey says, adding that the NAB puts its money where its mouth is by providing funding for the award plaques and promotions.

Participation in the competition is simple. Any booth that has been set up by Sunday afternoon will be included in the first round of judging, conducted through peer review by volunteers from the advisory committee.

The next round is decided by what Stokey calls “an unbiased third level” designed to avoid undue influence or or nepotism. Judges in this round include a stage designer or creative director, a sales/marketing specialist from the NAB, a senior staff member of the general contractor and a member from a university who teaches design and/or marketing.

Finalists will be notified Monday afternoon, and winners will receive plaques at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Stokey is the trade show director for her employer, so she knows firsthand what it’s like to prepare for and attend the NAB Show.

“It’s nice to know that you’re appreciated and recognized, and it’s hard to keep doing this year after year and come up with new ideas and try to get the best exposure for your company, so we just want to applaud those who we think do a great job.”

Booths are judged based on creativity, effectiveness, overall structure and the peer review.

“I think impression, first of all, is so important because you’re trying to catch the eye of thousands of people walking down the aisles,” Stokey says. Anything that what will catch the eyes of attendees is likely to go over well with the judges.

“Your message and signage have to be clear because it’s such an overload when you’re trying to surf your way through all of the booths and exhibits; and then third is function,” Stokey adds. “It needs to be able to work, both for your booth staff and for the people who stop.”

Interested exhibitors can learn more at, keyword ACE.

The 2012 award winners were:

Best Small Booth (up to 200 square feet): Shenzhen Skyworth Digital

Best Medium Booth (200 to 900 square feet): Sennheiser

Best Large Booth (900 square feet and up): Harris Corp.