Bell | Textron @ Farnborough International Airshow 2018

Bell | Textron @ Farnborough International Airshow 2018

Award: Best Stand at an Aviation Event – PLATINUM

Agency: GES

Client: Bell | Textron

Event Name: Farnborough International Airshow 2018

Agency Website:




The Brief:  

The Farnborough International Airshow is one of the world’s best-known events in the aerospace and defence sectors, and Bell wanted to use it to cement its position as a world-class business. It also saw the 2018 Airshow as a perfect platform to update perceptions of its brand: from a traditional helicopter specialist into a pioneering technology company working right across aviation.

Bell briefed GES to work on a stand that could make a powerful statement about both its heritage and future, energising the brand and wowing customers. It had five big aims:

• Update the industry’s perceptions of the Bell brand while emphasising its proud history in aviation
• Convey the brand’s new logo and identity
• Cement Bell’s reputation as an industry leader and innovator
• Simplify the B2B message of Bell’s parent company, Textron
• Provide customers and partners with a memorable experience at the Airshow


The Solution:

The main creative challenge was to combine two important facets of the Bell brand: its long and proud heritage as a revered name in aviation; and its modern image as an innovator at the cutting edge of flight. We worked with Bell to create a large-scale chalet that conveyed both elements in harmony.

A secondary challenge for the creative idea was the incorporation of Bell’s parent company, Textron. Bell is just one of eight brands in the Textron group, and the chalet had to incorporate this company’s branding as well as Bell’s.

Development of the idea for the Airshow chalet began with a partnership between Bell and GES on exhibits at the 2017 Heli-Expo show and Consumer Electronics Show. Next came extensive R&D activity, including a trip to the Paris Airshow to gather inspiration from other exhibitors.

The research resulted in designs for a sleek, modern business centre that harmonised elements including a reception, conference and meeting rooms, presentation suites, hospitality zones and viewing spaces as well as displays of Bell’s products and services. At the heart of the plans was a hexagonal graphic and lighting scheme for the exterior and interior, inspired by cutting-edge graphene technology. This was intended to pull the different strands of the chalet together and synchronise the Textron and Bell brands.

From start to finish, the creative strategy was developed in true collaboration between Textron and ourselves, with each partner outlining aims, suggesting ideas and refining designs.


The Activation:

Bell’s chalet at the Farnborough International Airshow was a very complex project targeting a multitude of stakeholders: current customers, prospective clients, partners, government agencies, media professionals, influencers and more. It was brilliantly executed, distilling multiple objectives into a concise and clear message at the event.

Two elements of the execution help to illustrate how the execution met the objectives of the project. First, a clean and clear exterior prominently displayed the Textron logo, reinforced with an LED screen that enabled content about Bell and other brands and product information to be displayed to visitors. This achieved the aim of presenting Bell as a brand that was fully integrated into the Textron group.

Second, an eye-catching display of models of Textron’s aircraft. The design for this was an intentionally bold departure from the traditional and simple methods of displaying models: placed on platforms or hanging from ceilings. Instead, the chalet hosted a magnetic field display of ten aircraft that floated above the ground, complemented by touchscreens that gave visitors more information about each of them. This high-tech solution achieved a real ‘wow factor’, stimulating interest in the aircraft and positioning Bell and Textron as futuristic and innovative operators.


The Result:

Bell’s stand surprised and impressed visitors to the Farnborough International Airshow, and was a very effective way to signal the future ethos and aims of the brand. It succeeded in practical terms too, providing Textron’s customers and partners with a smooth visit and a comfortable, inspiring experience.

The stand also achieved significant print, broadcast, online and social media coverage. Statistics (source: Fullintel) include:

• 161 media stories relating to Bell’s presence at the Airshow
• 98% positive sentiment in media coverage
• 182 million online impressions of coverage
• Social media reach of more than 617,000 Twitter users

A final and important result of the strategy was a future-proofed stand concept that can be used by Bell at other major events, including the Farnborough and Paris Airshows. The design formula and architectural elements of the chalet are versatile enough to be used by any Textron business unit, resulting in an even greater return on the initial investment. It also makes for a more environmentally friendly approach to exhibiting, reducing the carbon footprint and waste levels of the company’s presence at events.

Jenna Harris, Manager of Brand Experience at Bell, called the stand “An A+ result and a seamless partnership.” For more testimonials and images of the stand, please see our supporting material.