Autoplay CD-ROM sales video with PDF catalog distributed at tradeshow to business prospects
Perfect Presentation Averts Near-Disaster
Every year since 1986 Mohammed Mahmoud and his team of airline support professionals have traveled from New York City halfway around the world to attend the Africa Airlines Association's annual convention. With their tradeshow booth stocked with novelties and colorful catalogs, Mahmoud's company, Aero Industrial Sales (AIS), is a visible presence at these conventions, translating to new business relationships and solid revenue.
But for their 2011 conference, Mahmoud felt it was time to scrap their printed catalog of commercial airline parts and materials, opting to distribute the catalog electronically as a PDF file on a CD-ROM.
Driven by a desire to reduce costs, increase visibility and help fortify AIS's brand image as a technology leader, AIS turned to The Presentation Team to integrate their catalog in PDF format, together with a dynamic video introduction.
Old Technology still Holds Value
When AIS first contacted The Presentation Team about the CD-ROM project, presentation designer Kevin Lerner was curiously confused.
"Why would they want an outdated technology like a CD-ROM?" he asked, encouraging them to consider a DVD or USB memory stick, confessing that "we haven't developed a CD-ROM product since 2005."
Mahmoud was strong-willed in his desire for a digital disc catalog. "It's economical, easy to distribute, and tangible. Customers and prospects want something they can have and hold-on to. The disc makes sense."
As the project was contracted and development began, it became evident that this "outdated" technology still maintained its marketing magic.
A Catalog with a Kickoff
The PDF catalog was much more than a file on a disc. Upon startup, viewers were treated to a dynamic video intro showcasing AIS' services and products.
This intro video started showcased an AIS spokeswoman (initally developed for their website) keyed against a modern 3D earth motion video. Following the 30-second spokeswoman's intro, a 90-second PowerPoint presentation (converted to video) featured the company's services and solutions through a mix of text and graphics. The 2-minute production was set to contemporary rhythmic dance music. Rendered at a resolution of 800x600, the MP4 video integrated smoothly into Adobe Director. Until playback.
A Bump in the Road
To presentation designer Kevin Lerner the production "seemed simple and seamless." Everything was on-track and within budget. But with the finish line in-sight and the client's deadline fast approaching, the technical glitch was a harsh and unwelcome blow.
"We were having trouble getting the exe file to scale to the full size of the screen," Lerner explained. The autoplay disc loaded the video in a fixed-size 800x600 window. "It seemed like such a simple request, but I couldn't figure it out," the stressed presentation expert confessed. Hours turned into days. Calls to colleagues were met with replies of "I haven't used that antiquated application in over 10 years."
Down with Director; Fixed in a Flash
With hours counting down til the disc duplication deadline, Lerner found his salvation with Legal Graphicworks. The Palm Beach-based company known for high-end litigation graphics, also has some multimedia mojo. Andrew McClary, Vice President of Interactive Multimedia, immediately saw that the issue was with Adobe Director. He effortlessly took the files and re-developed the interactive presentation in Adobe Flash, relying on a simple line of Action Script programming code.
"Director is a great tool...but Flash is more contemporary and is easier to achieve what the client wanted," McClary explained.
With mere hours remaining, the final digital CD-ROMs catalogs- running at scalable full-screen resolution were duplicated and packed into a box on a flight to Africa.
Four days later, at the airline convention in Addis Abbaba, a small crowd gathered around the AIS booth, watching the video playing from the projector, and shaking hands with the Mohammed Mahmoud. The bulky catalogs of the past have been replaced with a slick digital CD-ROM catalog that that is helping propel AIS into the future.