Reprinted with permission from Commercial Baking
12 Oct 2022 | By Joanie Spencer
LAS VEGAS — As equipment exhibitors constructed their machinery in the days leading up to the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE), which took place Sept. 18-21 in Las Vegas, WP Bakery Group USA was busy building something quite different. The global supplier of commercial and retail bakery equipment erected in its booth the “Big Black Box,” a fully immersive tradeshow experience that swept IBIE attendees off the tradeshow floor and into bakery operations around the world.
WP invited attendees to “Step inside our world” and “Step inside your future” in the nearly 650-sq.-ft. box that stood 16 ft. tall. About 10 guests at a time were treated to a 360° multi-sensory virtual experience, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling video screens on all sides along with smells of bread baking and seats that moved with the speakers on screen.
Each session, which took place every 30 minutes each day of the show, included a message from Patricia Kennedy, WP Bakery Group USA president and CEO, followed by testimonials from six different bakeries sharing how collaboration with WP has improved their operations. While each bakery detailed unique pathways to growth and how WP enabled them to reach their goals through automation, attendees were able to virtually walk that pathway together with them.
From full turnkey solutions to the integration of a single automated line, guests inside the Big Black Box experienced firsthand the results of WP Bakery Group’s innovation for solving labor issues, collapsing waste ratios, improving product quality and more.
Bakeries included: Maypole Bakery in Qormi, Malta; Backhaus Hackner in Gaimersheim, Bavaria; Panovo in Jalisco, Mexico; Otto Bakery in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Heidelberg Bread in Frankfurt, New York; and Bakker Goedhart in The Netherlands.
WP Bakery Group USA designs, manufactures and services bakery equipment for nearly every sector of the baking industry with a variety of machines including mixers, bread, roll, bagel, pizza, donut and pretzel equipment. Creating a space where IBIE attendees from around the world could experience every facet of the company’s capabilities was efficient for visitors and also created a sustainable footprint for the booth.
“With this immersive experience — something the industry has never seen before — we are able to present a much broader view of our equipment line than with machines on the booth floor,” Kennedy said. “This is the future of tradeshow exhibitions.”
The Big Black Box was inspired by the Van Gogh Immersive Experience that has gained popularity around the world. Many attendees also likened it to amusement park rides that have been popularized for creating transformative encounters.
WP Bakery Group USA welcomed more than 1,000 visitors to the Big Black Box throughout the course of IBIE, with some attendees calling it “amazing,” and others stating, “I never knew I could care about bread so much.”