Come Sail Away.

From 1996-2000, APEX was hired to create the promotional materials for the Newport International Boat Show. Rhode Island might be the smallest U.S. state, but this project was big-time fun.

Now in its 50th year, the Newport International Boat Show is the largest in-water power and sailboat show in New England. Every September, exhibitors and attendees set a course for Newport to see and experience the latest and greatest nautical products in the picturesque Newport Harbor setting. For APEX, the relationship was a sparkling highlight of our early years. Working with the seasoned professionals at the Newport Exhibition Group and Providence-based marketing firm Acadia Consulting, APEX designed and produced the sales and marketing materials for the event for five years running.

The sales materials were highlighted by a multi-fold brochure that detailed the various levels of opportunity for exhibitors to meet their loyal Newport customers.

The promotional strategy for the show was two-fold: reaching out to exhibitors for business opportunities, and inviting potential consumers who would flock to Newport for a first look at new products. The show promoted their first-look opportunities as “Newport For New Products.” In the time period just before the advent of serious digital marketing avenues, their communication with both segments of their market began early each year with a series of direct mail postcards. In addition to these, the campaign included sales brochures, posters, advertising, and onsite materials such as special commemorative tickets.

Visuals for the collateral were created each year using several local nautical photographers including world-renowned shooter Onne van der Wal, who scouted and captured images during the show. Finding vantage points from high atop church steeples, on helicopter flights above the harbor and aboard sailboat decks, his photos captured a wide perspective of the show product and crowds.

Compelling images like this one by photographer Onne van der Wal captured the scale and excitement of the show by placing the viewer as close to the venue as possible.

Affectionately known as “NIBS,” the Newport International Boat Show was always crowded from docks to exhibition halls. To provide commemorative items for the multitudes of attendees, we created a series of posters, tee-shirts, and other swag that became collectible souvenirs each year.

Looking back, the Newport International Boat Show was one of our most cherished client relationships. And it gave us a first opportunity to dip our toes in the waters of event marketing and promotion. Given the chance to do it again, we’d set sail for beautiful Newport in a heartbeat!

So if you’re ready to test the waters to promote a new or existing event, contact us today. Consultation and estimates are always free.

Note: Sadly, the 2020 show which was scheduled for this weekend was another casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been postponed until September 16-19, 2021.

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