The Funniest Spin on a Weak ASIS2012

By John Honovich, Published Sep 27, 2012, 08:00pm EDT

Spinning is an art form. And doing so when faced with bad news is the pinnacle of the art. With show traffic so poor at ASIS 2012, this demanded the best spinning.

When traffic first started to decline after the 2008 recession, PR pros had a stock spin:

"Though traffic was down, the quality of attendees was way up."

That's good spin. Admit the negative but present it as a net positive - whether it is true or not.

Alas, that's become much harder to do after ASIS 2012.

The most enjoyable spin certainly came from CompassPR [link no longer available]:

"Overall, traffic on the floor and captured leads were down but the level of conversations between partners was up. I guess that was bound to happen - with few attendees on the show floor, vendors teamed up to talk integration and partnerships. If I had to choose any theme for this week's show, it would be partnering and openness."

Wow. That's quite a rationalization - "with few attendees on the show floor, vendors teamed up..."

So exhibitors paid millions and for that they got to talk to other exhibitors.

This is akin to a kid saying, "I flunked out of high school but now I get to spend more time with my stoner friends. If I had to choose a theme for my teens, it would be partying and socializing."

ASIS Spins on ASIS

ASIS's spin on ASIS2012 took the opposite route touting that "Kudos Pour In" and "positive reviews continue" simply ignoring any criticism or disappointment. That is fairly common spin - simply ignore any negativity - but it runs the risk of making ASIS seem deeply out of touch with their core customer base - the manufacturers who largely pay for the event. Indeed, ASIS celebrated the success of the exhibits noting:

"Exhibitors already are reporting new business obtained as a result of the show!"

This is certainly true though it is an incredibly meager success criteria, given that exhibitors paid $10+ Million to be there. The real question is whether the 'few attendees on the show floor' justified the substantial investment made in booths and sponsorships.

Looking Ahead

I suspect ISC West 2013 will have strong attendance, fueled by those in the Midwest and West who skipped Philly ASIS, though that assumes the US economy does not tank after elections.

The more interesting one will be ASIS 2013 in Chicago. With many manufacturers dissatisfied and with the show in the middle of the US in a non vacation destination, how will this affect exhibitors and traffic? This one is at high risk for another weak showing.

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