United Technologies Corporation at Paris Air Show 2019
Agency: RTH plc
Client: United Technologies Corporation
Event Name: Paris Air Show 2019
Agency Website: www.rthgroup.co.uk
The Paris Air Show 2019 ran from 17 to 23 June. It is the largest and oldest air show and aerospace industry exhibition in the world. There were thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of trade and public visitors.
United Technologies (UTC) has a portfolio of business units serving customers in the commercial aerospace, defence and building sectors. It is considered one of the most respected and innovative companies in the world. Business units Pratt & Whitney and the newly formed Collins Aerospace joined UTC at this event. They were to unveil their evolving brands whilst showcasing their newest, ground-breaking products.
The briefs came from these three distinct companies that comprise the aerospace interests at UTC. Each company had multiple stakeholders, different backgrounds, different branding guidelines and vastly different products. It was a first for all given that Collins had recently been acquired into the group.
As diverse as the briefs were, the goal was the same: first-in-class customer experience with a unified over-arching vision. We’d need to provide a 600 m2 pavilion with a museum quality interior. It would showcase a wide range of technologically advanced products and include interactive customer experiences. We would have to incorporate the branding guidelines for each company, while creating a unified look and feel!
The kind of challenges we faced included:
• How to bring these three brands together as one
• How to show a diverse range of products and services with equal prominence
• How to manage traffic flow inside this building to accommodate every need, including private conference rooms and public displays
• How to display today’s products but create a theme of the future of flight
• How to, with a blank drawing board, show the different building and layout options with associated costs
• How to create that wow factor and buzz.
It was a wonderful and exciting challenge. A challenge RTH’s UK and US offices eagerly accepted!
The design had to embody the world-class nature of UTC. And this meant every experience inside the facility had to be perfect: from the spacious, electronic, double door entrance, to the visual wonder of the interior design. The design had to painstakingly consider every detail. And our team did just that.
Creatively, the greatest challenge was the integration of brands in the pavilion. Developing a unified look while giving the smallest product line the same attention to detail as the largest was paramount.
Showcasing products is easy. However, giving equal prominence to a multitude of small products, standing alongside a real, full-scale jet engine which takes up 25 m2 of space is an entirely different feat!
To accomplish this, we proposed designing and building a custom cross section of an aircraft for the Collins exhibits. We then fitted each product into the appropriate space on the wing, fuselage and in the cockpit. The first ever, custom (non-flying of course!) RTH aircraft.
To address the different brands, colours and tag lines, audio visual solutions were suggested alongside colour-specific LED lighting. This would stay true to each company and even complement each other.
Corporate branding on the exterior was placed equally. Business unit specific colours were dropped, while large format graphics of showcase products were selected.
Shared executive meeting rooms, offices and hospitality areas were influenced by universal themes. This meant they could be used interchangeably by the business units. It was suggested that the reception desk, a long-standing fixture of any exhibit experience be removed. This would create a more open and unified feeling.
To address our client’s desire to represent the future of flight, we suggested that each product line piece had a section within their multi-media, customer-focused experiential presentation.
We also proposed a floor to ceiling, LED screen pillar for the wow factor they were looking for.
Such a complicated project required months of planning. We began initial discussions in December 2018, seven months before the show was to go live.
UTC wanted the full scale of the room and exhibits to be apparent as soon as one entered. Structurally this meant we had to design a solution which did not require support columns, as they would obstruct sightlines. To achieve this we sourced ultra-light-weight ceiling features which required no additional support.
The aircraft cross section which we custom built to give prominence to the smaller exhibits required considerable engineering. We had to ensure it was structurally sound yet aesthetically pleasing, whilst showcasing the products in an effective, safe, and, where possible, interactive way.
LED light labels, inspired by museum and high-end car showrooms, were selected to demark each area, in the colours appropriate to the sub brands. As an illustration of the care we took across the project we had to experiment with bulbs, brightness, voltage and the light absorption of the nearby materials to achieve the desired brand colours.
In this three-dimensional space, each exhibit was framed with elegant base and overhead units. And in an extra twist, directional speakers were used to convey key information whilst virtually eliminating sound bleed. This would otherwise have been detrimental where so many products were being displayed in close proximity.
Collins had an interactive wall to add to their physical exhibits. A touchscreen was chosen for interaction but other solutions were considered such as hummingbird technology. At 138 inches, it was the largest touchscreen of its type in Europe, sending out quite a statement.
P&W had a large screen feature too. And they also had a show-stopping 360-degree LED column and floor which formed the centrepiece of their future zone – an area which stole a glimpse of what is to come. Both innovative and eye-catching, it was an ideal concept for the technology on show.
Beautiful and functional, this is the key to any successful show. And to that we would add robustness. The number of daily visitors, from VIPs to the public, plus the massive staff required to put on a weekly event like the Paris Air Show is beyond comparison in the trade show world.
And for any temporary structure to withstand the waves of people and still shine a week later is the ultimate testament of quality. All this, the UTC pavilion achieved. In fact it was visited by over 2,000 delegates and hosted six media events where multi-million dollar aviation deals were announced.
In UTC’s own promotional video they summed it up by saying “The wow factor is almost instantaneous upon walking inside the United Technologies pavilion.”
When we surveyed them after the show, the client highlighted the way in which the full-scale engines were showcased as being particularly pleasing. And also the LED flooring which was part of the LED column feature. And when UTC conducted its own survey, the sentiment wat that this was their best show yet!
Customer satisfaction cannot be truly gauged until after all the invoices have been paid and future projects are booked. And with that said, our clients are thrilled and will be using our services again for the Farnborough International Air Show in 2020.