On February, 25 the 29th International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports (IAW) in Cologne celebrated the presentation of the IAW Trendseller Product Award. It also marked a break with tradition and a radical change in approach. In the past, the award winners were ranked in a hierarchy according to more rigid criteria, but now products in different, alternating categories will be honored. Speaking as chairman of the Award Jury, business consultant Ulrich Eggert explained: "The new concept will shift the focus. Instead of concentrating on the innovative character of a product, the decisive factors will be the quality and commercial appeal of beautiful products, thus broadening the scope of the Award.” This change in emphasis is a reminder that it is not always necessary to “reinvent the wheel” – clever adjustments to a winning formula are generally sufficient.
Accordingly, no-one was surprised to see TV presenter Ralf Kühler announcing an award for a kettle in the “Design” category. Kettles are not innovative per se but the quality of the manufacture and finish of the Rose Gold Kettle from UP Global Sourcing Ltd. in England was evident to all. Martina Schimmel from zentrada Europe commented: “The Rose Gold kettle is absolutely on-trend and the combination of an electric kettle in the form of a traditional kettle looks stylish and classy.” This 3 kW fast-boil kettle has a 1.7 litre capacity and a 360-degree rotational base. A toaster in the same design completes the product line.
The Magic Slime 3D set from the Dutch company Jono Toys BV received an award in the category “Creative Products: toys”. The set comprises different colours that are used to paint and fill moulds to create different shapes such as a reindeer’s head, a star or a dolphin. The special aspect is that by placing these moulds for about 30 minutes in a mixture of water and a special emulsion supplied with the kit the mixture will harden to form a three-dimensional figure. “This allows children aged upwards of six to be as creative as their parents with a 3D printer”, said an enthused Sven Zimmermann, an authorized executive representing U. Zimmermann GmbH.
Another award winner was the company Technic24 from Berlin. Just as the name implies, the “Smart Suitcase” competing within the category “Technical Innovation” is a cabin case with various functions operated using a smartphone. For example, it can be opened and closed and also be tracked via a cell phone as an alarm registers when the case is taken outside the Bluetooth range and shows its location. The suitcase features digital scales which help to avoid embarrassment when luggage is weighed at check-in. There is also a power charger port for USB devices. Ralf Kühler praised these practical features: “This is the perfect case for 2-day business trips. There is room for enough luggage, while it allows you to sit in the airport lounge and charge the smartphone. In addition, it is a hard suitcase that is robust and looks good.”
The IAW Trendseller Product Award is a prize presented in recognition of outstanding products in diverse categories at the International Trade Fair for Retail Promotions and Imports in Cologne. The winning entries are regarded as suitable for promoting sales and are selected by a jury chaired by Ulrich Eggert. The jury includes Martina Schimmel, Ralf Kühler and Sven Zimmermann. The IAW, Europe’s biggest trade fair for orders from the trade, is located in the Cologne Exhibition Halls 10.1 and 10.2 and will remain open to trade visitors until 27 February.