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Singapore Airshow 2016 (Or How To Turn Anything Into A Family-Friendly Affair)

The 2016 Singapore Airshow is part of a continuing series held bienially on the sunny island of Singapore. An event that draws huge crowds of dignitaries and members of the public alike, it is held on a grand scale, and in some quarters is one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the calender. In that respect, the 2016 edition was no different. There are many reasons why this mega-event is so popular, of course, and the $319 million dollars it contributed to the Singaporean economy in 2014 surely is a charm with authorities here.

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Not American money, obviously. But you get the point. Ker-ching! / Source

To level with you again, I’m not an airline industry professional. Yes, shock and surprise, I know. But I know a good show when I see one. And with the demographics of the open-to-public-day audiences, I can safely say this event is successful. (Yes, shock and horror, I know.) And as with any success story, there are things to learn. So let’s explore how like the Singaporean Airshows, you can make any event family friendly.

Separate

First off, we must acknowledge the fact that what is open to the public is probably a side-show. The first 4 days this year were dedicated to the business side of things , leaving the final 2 days for public consumption. It is at heart a commercial and corporate event that this year racked up S$12.3 billion in deals. So this part, at least, is no child’s play. And yet, 100’000 members of the public still pay to go for the open events, and that is testament to the ability of the organizers in making it suitable for children to play at.

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There’s a lesson here to be wrought from the separation of activities. Settling the business and big-money aspects in the first 3 days of the event means that the high rollers and industry professionals can get their deals sorted free from the distraction of public activities. This also means that the organizers can concentrate on one thing at a time. The professionals and the public are two entirely different propositions and the fact that they are separated allow for shifts in focuses for both the participants and the organizers. Work is never the most fun thing in the world; sparing the audience from this side of the industry and only showing them the wow and fun stuff makes it easier to be marketed as a family-day out.

Story Time

With mandatory military service for males in the country and an overt display of military elements at national celebrations, there is a sense that the military is a vital part of the nation and the nation’s narrative. It is therefore not a real surprise that a display of some commercial, but much military hardware would be popular with the public.

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Conscript. / Source

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Always take advantage of whatever conditions favor you culturally. Understanding your surroundings in terms of culture or history goes a long way into turning your projects into success stories. Sell your products or events in ways that will appeal to the people of a particular time and place.

Up Close

Here’s the thing, airshows put on display many fighter jets or choppers and the like. To put it bluntly, these things are built and design to kill a large amount of people. The Airshow 2016 allowed guests and attendees to come up, close and personal with these machines or otherwise just give the general public a rare and closer look at them. This is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the event.

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No matter what your product is, there’s always a way, through marketing or repositioning, to make it palatable to an audience. This of course has to come with an understanding of your target audience and how to appeal to them. Just check out this trailer – full of cheery music and, not necessarily misrepresenting, but with a little sleight of hand, presenting these killing machines as something you can get close with. That’s a lesson in marketing that we call can get something from.

Suffer The Children

They let the children play!

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Children are money-spinners and crowd pullers. With their seemingly endless bursts of energy and curiosity, programs which are tailor-made for children will automatically turn any event into a family-friendly one. At your events, have children-friendly activities and also play spaces where parents can leave their kids for a bit as they gallivant a little. If you can take care of the children, the adults will be very happy customers. After all, the little nippers aren’t going to go anywhere by themselves.

That’s It

The 2016 Singapore Airshow, just like all its predecessors, served two real purposes – to facilitate the business side of the industry as well as to demonstrate military prowess to the general population in a “soft” way. Using this as a guide, we can learn from the immense successes of not only the 2016 Airshow but all the airshows previously to understand just how to make anything fun for families to enjoy!

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