The J.R. Simplot Company is one of the largest privately-held food and agribusiness companies in the nation, though at heart they’re as small as a single farmer. Simplot pioneers innovations in plant nutrition and food processing, researches new ways to feed animals and sustain ecosystems, and strives to feed a growing global population.

Download the Simplot Potato Expo 2017 Case Study


Simplot’s Plant Science Group wanted to promote their Innate brand of White Russet potatoes as the “Gold Standard” in the Russet potato industry at the 2017 Potato Expo in San Francisco. Based on Simplot’s success at the 2016 Potato Expo they again turned to us, Tideline Design, a leader in custom turn-key trade show exhibits in the Pacific Northwest to develop and facilitate their new “face-to-face” marketing effort. Our space this year was a 20×30 configuration located to the left of the show entrance. Simplot’s Plant Science Group had contracted Kristen Armstrong, multiple Olympic gold medal winner in cycling, as their celebrity attraction. Their thought was that “the gold standard” in White Russet Potatoes equates to Olympic Gold, both are “Number One”.

The client’s objective was to introduce and create buying excitement for their Innate brand of White Russet potato with existing buyers and potential new growers. TideLine Design encountered many challenges with this project:

  1. Our primary challenge was how to balance the introduction of the Innate brand of potato to the industry with the huge celebrity draw of Kristen Armstrong, Olympic Gold Medalist and her “monster” winning
 bicycle. We needed to separate and entice qualified potential customers form the expected hordes of “autograph seekers”.
  2. An unexpected massive six-foot diameter concrete column at one end of the booth blocking show visitor’s
 line-of-site at that end of the booth.
  3. How to identify Simplot’s booth with a creative overhead hanging sign that was visible through out show hall, eye catching, and communicated the idea of “come visit us we are number one, we have answers”.
  4. The final challenge was a strict budget that had to include the entire show package…they wanted a
 “turn-key” solution that encompassed everything, including the costs for all show and support services.


TideLine Design had to tactfully separate the celebrity from the Innate product. The two elements of the trade show display needed to present an attractive, cohesive message that encouraged buyer and prospect visits more so than autograph seekers. To accomplish this we positioned the celebrity attraction so she had her own main aisle space at one corner of the booth, about five percent of the floor space. Kristin was very visible and accessible yet the crowds desiring only her autograph gathered out of the way around the column at the end of the booth leaving clear lines of site and easy access for interested show attendees. The majority of our graphics and product displays targeted potential grower/customers by emphasizing the attributes of the Innate potato that satisfied needs or solved problems the growers are faced with…worked like a charm.

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TideLine Design’s solution to the unexpected six-foot diameter column that completely the blocked line-of-site at one end of the booth was to incorporate it into the graphics presentation of the booth. First TideLine got permission from the show management to use the column as a graphics presentation vehicle. On-the-fly TideLine fabricated a metal ring that fit around the column both top and bottom. Next we designed a colorful product presentation and produced a very large fabric graphics to hang from the metal ring. Then TideLine had the riggers hang the “column-camouflage” graphics around the offensive concrete column. The area around the column made a perfect area for Kristen Armstrong’s autograph seekers to gather and not clog up the selling floor allowing the prequalified leads easy access to the presentation/selling floor.

The overhead hanging sign…TideLine Design’s creative staff conceptualized and developed an oversized Gold Metal with a colorful eye catching flowing presentation ribbon that needed only two hanging points. The free-flowing ribbon was crafted from aluminum tubing. To make the rigid metal appear to be fabric floating in the breeze was quite a feat. The masterfully engineered hanging system with only two hanging points dramatically reduced the cost of the rigging labor to hang the sculpture.

Simplot’s Plant Science Group’s budget for their new Innate potato 2017 Potato Expo booth presented a host of challenges. Our solution had to included identification of the show objective, concept and design of the booth, fabrication, crating and packaging, drayage to the show, installation and dismantling, packing and shipping logistics to the next show… a “Turn Key” proposition. Not only did TideLine Design meet all of the client’s criteria providing an inviting atmosphere with graphics that pre-qualified visitors as they made the decision that this presenter warranted their attention TideLine Design did it on time and under budget.

Client Testimonial

“Tideline Design is always my very first call for booth exhibit needs. Their creativity and insight is off the charts. At a show this past January, we had to balance the need for brand promotion vs the attention diversion of having a 3-time Olympic athlete in our booth. Their guidance on this balancing act during booth design, had a noticeable impact. Not only did we have outstanding traffic, but the ROI was measurable.”
                                                                     – Christina Graves, Marketing and Brand Services, Simplot