Tips and Trends

Should You Integrate a Shipping Container into Your Trade Show Display?

Thursday, November 08, 2018

You’ve probably seen custom build-outs of shipping containers on the show floor. They’re big and highly visible—so they’re hard to miss. They create intrigue and ignite curiosity; attendees can’t help wanting to peek inside.

Shipping containers are also very functional. On the trade show floor, they can be used as show rooms, conference areas, hospitality suites, theaters and demo areas.

Logistically, shipping containers save time. The container arrives largely ready to go—which expedites set-up.

On the down side, shipping containers take up a lot of space inside your exhibit and are heavy—which means an increase in your drayage cost. Depending on your venue, you may need special equipment to get the container on and off the truck. And the cost of a container can be expensive—though purchasing a used container or renting a container are options.

So how does a corporate marketer decide if a custom shipping container is the right solution for their exhibit?

Never fear, the 3D Exhibits team is here to help. We’ve completed multiple projects that include custom shipping containers. Here are some guidelines to help you decide.


When does it make sense to integrate a shipping container into your trade show display?

 1. Your event marketing plan calls for the container to be used at other shows and events. Outfitting a container is a big investment—one that makes more sense when you plan to use it at multiple events.

The plan for the used shipping container we rehabbed for Pukka Golf included additional shows and events where the container’s edgy vibe would differentiate Pukka from other suppliers in the typically straight-laced world of golf.

2. You want your trade show exhibit to be consistent with the rest of your event marketing program. If your company already has a container that it is using at other marketing events, it’s a no-brainer to bring it to the show floor as well.


3. The container reinforces your message. Dell implemented this approach at NAB with a shipping container that reinforced the message that its data storage products have the extensive capacity required by the broadcast industry.


Are there any alternatives to a standard shipping container?

We’re glad you asked. Believe it or not, there are instances where a fully-custom container can be more functional and cost-effective than a standard container.

A great example is the custom container we created for Havas Sports & Entertainment for the Coca-Cola’s Share an Ice Cold Coke Summer Tour. Using aircraft grade aluminum reduced the cost, weight, and set-up time versus a traditional shipping container. We also developed a proprietary hydraulic and automated deployment system that eliminated the need for forklifts or special equipment onsite.


Do you have any experience with shipping containers—standard or custom? Let us know. We’d love to know how that worked for you.




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