Johnson Matthey booth
February 22, 2021 Eran Matis
Tugboat Controls Time with Johnson Matthey Packaging

Tugboat Group provided the complete package of presenting the people and technology of Johnson Matthey Atmosphere Control Technologies (JM ACT) at PMA Fresh Summit in Atlanta.

Tugboat was responsible for the theme, design, production and execution of the experience in their island booth. Those in the fresh produce business know the importance of humidity and atmosphere management when it comes to packing, storing and shipping to domestic and international markets. Even the slightest fluctuations can mean the difference between product and loss. Johnson Matthey Atmosphere Control Technologies is the producer of Xtend®, a precision-engineered modified atmosphere and modified humidity fresh produce packaging platform. The packaging is custom engineered for each specific vegetable, fruit or herb, ensuring extended shelf life while maintaining produce freshness, taste and nutritional value.

Control Time. This was the first foray into the market as JM ACT, with Xtend® being a recent acquisition by the global company (for Johnson Matthey, the global business that recently acquired Stepac and their Xtend® technology). Tugboat was selected because of their demonstrated trade show successes in the fresh space. The Tugboat approach to trade experiences is not to focus on filling the footprint, but to focus on the desired outcome. For the Israeli-based R&D and production team, the desired outcome was to be positioned on par (if not superior) to other products in this space. So this project was approached as though it were an ad campaign. An ad needs an insight, it needs a compelling message, it needs a focus.

"Too many exhibitors treat their booths like Yellow Pages ads," says Steve Gallagher, Tugboat's Strategy Director. "Essentially, they want to jam every single idea or catalogue they've ever had into a bouillon cube. All you get when you do that is a weak broth."

After identifying key targets and the desired responses, the Tugboat team distilled down to the idea of Xtend® products allowing fresh space customers to control time. This insight became the metaphor and visual device that pulled the experience together.

"In this business," says Gallagher, "no matter how deep your experience runs, there is always something new to learn. What our group understood about the post-harvest management chain was cursory. But, after our first session with the team in Israel we were seeing clearly the promising future of not just MA/MH Packaging, but the consultative, creative and scientific process, also, that plays such a significant role in solution design. But because delegates visiting our exhibit would not have the benefit of hours of conversation and reams of fascinating reading material, we knew we needed to treat this like an outdoor ad."

"Control time" is a compelling statement in the Fresh Summit environment.

"We're not talking about a passive list of feature benefits here," says Gallagher. "We're talking about what these products truly allow customers to do."

In the case of blueberries, for example, the tailored packaging and process can extend product life to an astounding 45 days.

“So it’s much more than reducing shrink and weight loss," adds Gallagher, “it really is controlling time."

With a considered campaign theme, it was relatively straight forward to then apply campaign elements to complete the booth experience, from graphics and video, right down to time-themed promotional give-aways. Looking for an edge for your next trade show experience? We can help, from product showcases through sponsorships, on-site activation, booth theming and design, promotions, menu development, sampling, staffing and every other client touch-point.