Designing Woman Sets Trade-Show Plans

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The 2001 Western Show may have wrapped up just last week, but Freddie Georges has already set her sights on New Orleans.

Neither Rainbow Media Holdings Inc. nor Game Show Network — the two cable-programmer clients of Freddie Georges/Production Group, the trade-show exhibit and corporate events firm in which she is a principal — opted to exhibit at last week's Anaheim, Calif., event.

But both will be represented at next spring's National Show in the Big Easy, and Georges's Garden Grove, Calif.-based firm, which opened earlier this year, is tasked with crafting their floor presence.

"At this juncture, Rainbow is intending to use the same display [as it had planned to showcase at the Western Show] and adding elements to it, for instance, on Mag Rack [Rainbow's platform of niche video-on-demand services]," Georges said. "So it will be a little different. Overall, it will be the same structure [as was used at last year's National Show], but with more sell."

Designed by Mauk Design, the Rainbow exhibit's various "pods" — or sections devoted to such networks as American Movie Classics, Bravo and WE: Women's Entertainment — will remain much the same, though "what they look like may change, in terms of furniture, graphics, etc.," Georges said.

A 20-year veteran of the trade-show field, Georges formed FG/PG after stints at ExhibitGroup/Giltspur and Premier Displays & Exhibits. She's now involved in everything from design and fabrication to the installation of exhibit booths for clients in the cable, technology, consumer-electronics and pharmaceutical businesses, she said.

And those booths are changing. Programmers are "cutting promotion activities and premium giveaways and using less and less singers and dancers," she said. "Now there's more and more one-on-one presentations and meetings."

There's also a greater emphasis on cost-efficiency, she said. For instance, Rainbow will eliminate the rotating bar at the center of the booth, starting with the National Show.

Rainbow paid $400,000 to design and fabricate its booth. Georges said those expenditures can be amortized across several years of use.

Tech clients —who turned out to be the stars of the Western Show — have different needs, according to Georges. She said their booths "tend to be 20-by-20 or 30-by-30 [foot] islands with a lot of kiosks, heavily hands-on, to demonstrate interactive services [and the like]."

But Intertainer Inc. sought Georges's input on a different type of presentation last week. The interactive-TV provider opted instead to develop "a creative presence for an off-site hospitality venue" in a restaurant at the Disneyland complex in Anaheim, she said.

Georges also is at work on design proposals for several other National Show clients, but said it's too soon to name them.

Last year, she also designed syndicator King World's exhibit for the National Association of Television Programming Executives convention; Mixed Signals' booth at the National Association of Broadcasters gathering; Rockstar Games's display at the Electronic Entertainment Expo; and 20th
Century-Fox's Fox Interactive display.

Georges said she tries to stand out from Giltspur and other rivals by offering à la carte pricing, rather than package deals.

"We've separated our services into management services, fabrication services, storage services, so you don't pay for what you don't need," she said.

And Georges also sets her prices at levels lower than her rivals to better compete in the current tight economic climate. Industrywide fabrication rates range from $80 to $120 an hour, but FG/PG asks $60, she said. Storage rates run from 16 cents per cubic foot to as high as 30 cents per cubic foot in the Bay Area, she said, adding her rate is 10 cents per cubic foot.

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