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Articles from INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS (259 Articles)

Gary Fitz-roy
Gary Fitz-roy

Exhibitor banned from trade fairs

An "ambush-marketing" event designed to coincide with the JAA's Brisbane trade fair has caused Expertise Events to get tough with exhibitors.
Melbourne-based diamond dealer A. Weiner & Company has been banned from exhibiting at this year's International Jewellery Fair Sydney (IJF) after hosting an “exclusive showing” in a Brisbane hotel room during the JAA's Brisbane trade fair.

The showing has been described as "ambush marketing" by the managing director of Expertise Events, Gary Fitz-Roy, because it not only took place during the exact same dates as the Brisbane fair but also in Rydges Hotel, situated next to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre – where the trade fair was being held.

Ambush marketing is a term used to describe a campaign that takes advantage of a coinciding event without payment of the required sponsorship fee to that event.

In an exclusive invitation sent to select retailers, and obtained by Jeweller, Weiner & Company stated, "We have a number of specials which are only available at this exclusive show.”

The invitation then listed an 18-carat gold ring with a 50-point, F-colour, SII solitaire diamond for "only" $1,677, as well as an 18-carat princess-cut diamond ring with a total diamond weight of 0.55-points for "only" $673 – the invitation also offered a free pair of diamond studs with any purchase over $3,000.

Weiner’s activity riled fair organiser Gary Fitz-Roy to the degree that he wrote to Weiner managing director Brian Weiner, advising him that his account had been closed and that the diamond dealer would not be able to exhibit at any future trade fair run by Expertise Events, including the IJF in Sydney.

“I have no problems with suppliers being proactive in the market," Fitz-Roy said, "and I also do not have a problem with them getting out and selling product, but Weiner & Company had advised us that they would not exhibit at the Brisbane fair this year because they could not trade on a Saturday due to religious reasons and because they could not justify the cost.”

Fitz-Roy explained that it was unfair for any company who said they could not justify even a small stand at a trade fair to then book a luxury hotel room and fly staff members interstate to hold a sales event in a luxury hotel room at the same time as – and right next door to – the very event they were refusing to support.

Fitz-Roy was further offended by Weiner's decision to hold its event on a Saturday, a day that had previously been strongly contested by the group's managing director as a day of no trade.

“In the past, Brian Weiner has made it clear that we should not open the fair on Saturday because some in the industry are not able to trade [for religious reasons]," Fitz-Roy explained.

"To be told that they [Weiner] couldn't trade on a Saturday and then for them to invite buyers on a Saturday is something else entirely."

Weiner & Company exhibited at the Brisbane fair in 2009, and the company has been a regular exhibitor at the Sydney jewellery fair.

Fitz-Roy explained that a number of exhibitors had since complained about the activity, pointing-out that they had paid to be at the fair and that it was not reasonable for non-exhibitors to take advantage of an industry event without contributing to the event itself.

"It poses a huge risk to the credibility of the industry – the fair directly contributes financially back to the trade, not only through the JAA but also through supporting emerging designers."

The JAA was so unimpressed by the actions of one of its members that the organisation emailed members to request that they didn't support selling events of this type.

“The JAA wishes to point out that it derives a substantial benefit from Expertise Events as a result of the fair and those benefits are passed on to the members in particular and the industry in general," the email read.

"Supplier members are urged not to undertake such marketing exercises and retail members are urged not to support this type of selling. Instead they should support the exhibitors who have paid to participate at the fair."

Fitz-Roy said that Weiner staff would be denied access to any future fair because they are not buyers.

In fact, Expertise had already decided to toughen-up its entry requirements to its jewellery fairs before the incident took place.

“In the past we have allowed non-exhibiting suppliers onto the floor but that is no longer," Fitz-Roy explained.

"It is not reasonable on the exhibitors who have paid to be at the trade fair for their competitors to be walking around the aisles. From now, only buyers will be allowed entry and any visiting supplier that needs access will be escorted in and out by our staff to ensure they do not try and market their company or product.”

JAA CEO, Ian Hadassin supported the new, more stringent entry rules, saying, “The JAA jewellery fairs serve to unite the industry and if suppliers choose not to use the fair as a marketing event, that’s their choice but they should not expect to be able to attend as a visitor [buyer].”

When contacted by Jeweller, Brian Weiner confirmed the "exclusive-showing" sales event, but would offer no further comment other than to say it was in the hands of his solicitor.

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