Nov 18/13
By Mark Gallo

Six days, two events and one 1971 tour bus

For the second year, we were asked to develop a theme and graphic system for Ion Torrent by Life Technology's annual user conference, Ion World, which took place at the Westin Waterfront in Boston at the end of October.

IW2013 Westin Entrance

For the 2013 event creative, we wanted to evolve the Ion World brand that we established for last year's inaugural conference. The second layer of complexity we faced this year was that the look and feel needed to be cohesive with a few other marketing activities in and around the Boston area during that time. For one, we were running an out-of-home brand campaign for Ion Torrent in key areas around town. Billboards, subway cars and a saturation of posters at Kendall station had been running there for 3 months prior to the event.

We were also tasked with developing a concept and lead generation strategy for a second event - taking place at the same location, and immediately following Ion World. Needless to say, cohesion and consistency in look and feel for all three campaigns—Ion World, Brand Campaign, and ASHG—were paramount to deliver maximum impact and leverage each effort to drive brand awareness and consideration.


Ion World 2013 was truly a showcase event in the heart of the research community. The event theme, "Your Innovations Drive Our Breakthroughs" was an extension of the brand campaign running concurrently in the Boston area. The visual system, wayfinding signage, videos and event materials were all designed to create an immersive experience for attendees, without taking over the expansive hotel lobby.


Immediately following Ion World was the American Society of Human Genetics' (ASHG) Annual Meeting, where Ion Torrent needed a huge impact, while working cohesively with the parent company Life Technologies booth, which would be located adjacently across the aisle on the show floor. To help accomplish this goal, we brought their Mobile Sequencing Lab (a.k.a. the Ion Bus) right onto the trade show floor. We also initiated a social media contest entitled, "The Art of the Breakthrough" where genetic scientists were encouraged to submit images found in their research. Entries were judged via Facebook and the winner was announced at ASHG. Finally, we suggested a unique give-away, the Breakthrough Buddy - a customizable dunny action figure with a scientific theme.



The results - Ion World more than doubled in attendance from the previous year. At ASHG, the Breakthrough Buddies proved to be the hit of the show, and we had exhausted our supply by the second day of the show. More importantly, the appearance of the Bus was a show stopper and we consistently enjoyed a line of eager guests at the Ion Bus.

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