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Open Letter to Reed Exhibitions from Andy McCourt

Thursday, 28 May 2009
By Print21

My name is Andy McCourt. My first PacPrint was 1984 and I have visited and reported on just about every International Graphic Arts trade show in the world, including the ones run by Reed Exhibitions such as the UK’s Ipex. I have served on the marketing committees of two Ipexes and a Pacprint, plus numerous industry initiatives over the years.

Last night, 20 minutes before show close, your security people confronted, challenged, intimidated and generally behaved unacceptably toward a paying exhibitor – Océ Australia – who had the good grace to provide an entertaining end-of day music interlude on their stand. The crowd loved it and there were even fellow exhibitors enjoying it. I understand another exhibitor – Curries is hosting a similar on-stand concert so good on them too for having the imagination and creativity to add ambience to the event.

What we don’t need is a repeat of the plain rude attitude of your people. Trade shows are about show business too, or don’t you know that? Despite billing Reed as the ‘World’s largest exhibition organiser.’ I don’t care what you are – you were out of line last night. Exhibitors have invested huge sums to be here under challenging circumstances and musical entertainment is a consistent feature of all great trade shows from Ooompah bands at Drupa to blues bands at Print Chicago and rock bands at IPEX.

This PacPrint has just about taken place in the most challenging commercial environment in living history. If nothing else, by marching onto stands with live music and attempting to stop it, you are also depriving visitors of enjoyment, camaraderie and a great wind-down to a busy day.

This is Australia, a place where basic freedoms are very much treasured. Your behaviour last night was not in accordance with this, nor with commercial pleasantries, nor common decency but the thing you demonstrated most profoundly was a complete lack of respect, sense of fun and enjoyment.

Keep this up and there will not be another Pacprint – suppliers will just take their budgets and do something where they are treated with more respect. Change, adapt and be reasonable and there might be.

Lighten up Reed. And to Curries and the band Colour and the Waves; crank up the volume and rock on baby! We can entertain our way out of recession!

Andy McCourt
Disclaimer: The is the opinion of Andy McCourt and in no way reflects the opinions or views of the publisher or the companies mentioned, including Oce, with whom the writer is employed.

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