MIDO: This Show Sets Out to Attract Notice – And it Works!

By Paddy Kamen


I always look forward to learning about the latest iteration of the Mido trade show, held every spring in Milan. It’s not just because I claim I was mixed up at the hospital as an infant, and really am Italian! No, my interest in Mido has a lot more to do with how ‘out there’ the organizers are.

Mido has assumed a very effective strategy of going out into the world to attract both exhibitors and eyecare professionals to their highly successful show. As just one example, take the ‘A Train to Mido’ initiative. Two years ago, Mido decided to make it easy for optical professionals from Rome, Florence and Bologna to come to the show. How? They booked a train to bring them in on the Sunday of the three-day weekend exhibition. It costs the ECPs nothing to take the train and this year it was fully booked two weeks in advance. Love it!

This strategy of ‘going out to bring people in’ is also seen in this year’s high-fashion parade of eyewear through the streets of Milan, which took place on March 1, the opening day of the show. This project, known as Midounvolto, saw fashion models walking with great panache from the Piazza della Scala to the Piazza del Duomo where they were met by paparazzi. The fashion parade was the culmination of a promotional campaign that included biodegradable graffiti on city sidewalks, along with teasers on social media sites. It was a great success and further heightened awareness of the significance of the industry for all Italians.

Midounvolto was the brainchild of graduate students in marketing and communications from BocconiUniversity, also based in Milan. The students were enlisted to analyze Mido’s performance and advise on new directions to help the show maintain its leadership. Mido organizers also jumped on another idea from these consultants and instituted the Bestand Award for the most eye-catching, original and communicative exhibition stand at the show. What fun! Visitors voted for their favourite exhibit using the MidoApp and mobile site from their smartphones. The prize was first choice of exhibit space at next year’s show! That’s a powerful incentive for exhibitors to pour a lot more creativity into making their booths not only beautiful but also effective at communicating the value of their products. First-time exhibitor Silvian Heach was the lucky winner.

Mido also leaves the comfort of the known and familiar by participating in Milan Furniture Week, which has morphed into an all-out feast of design innovation from several sectors. This year Mido made its second appearance at the show, highlighting the craftsmanship and outstanding design inherent in the best eyewear. They were at the heart of the celebrations from April 8-13, and then again in June of this year.

This amazing synergy of creative ideas, implemented with gusto, results in what organizers call, ‘The No.1 International showcase in the eyewear industry.’ And who would argue with them? This year’s three-day event attracted more than 45,000 people – 25,000 from other countries and 20,000 from Italy. The 1,100 exhibitors from 49 countries reported that sales were up 5.4 per cent over last year. And with the exhibitors as their major clients, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Mido President Cirillo Marcolin is already working on next year’s show: “We look forward to Mido 2015, slated for February 28 to March 2. We’re already working on an event that will continue to be a business generator and networking opportunity for everyone in the eyewear industry.”