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Here we are, a week since the stands have been dismantled, the plastic plates and beer mugs cleared from the kiosk tables and the gates of the almighty Messe Dusseldorf closed to the global packaging industry, and I can now finally stand tall and say the words I never thought I’d utter so triumphantly: yes, I survived the Interpack ride.
And what a rollercoaster it’s been. Backtrack to January ’14 and I can’t help but chuckle at my cluelessness of what was to come. I’d experienced my first FESPA in London and spent a day power-walking through Labelexpo in Brussels, so I’d already earned my exhibition stripes as far as I was concerned. And yet everyone kept reminding me without fail how much bigger Interpack was compared to these shows and that I was going to need three pairs of walking shoes, but surely they were overhyping the whole thing, right? Oh, ignorance is bliss indeed…
In fact, I only started wrapping my head around the sheer size of Interpack when my Account Director and I had took a day trip to the Messe Dusseldorf in early March, just so we could get acquainted with our surroundings. It didn’t take us long to figure out why. The Messe truly is a city within a city; 306,000 sqm of offices, conference rooms and sprawling halls. Walking shoes? We were going to need segways. Or Jetpacks.
And so the big day loomed closer, with press releases, travel arrangements and countless phone calls to clients and journalists ruling most of our days, not to mention the lengthy checklists (I still dream of them at night, honest). By the time I woke up at silly o’clock on Thursday 8th May I was doing my best to hide the sweat patches under my suit…
… But here’s the kicker: from the moment I crossed the gates, I got an odd feeling marching through the premises, crossing paths with visitors and businessmen and overhearing languages from all over the globe. Contrary to all my expectations, I wasn’t intimidated by this vast, bustling environment. I was invigorated by it.
If, like me, you feel the need from time to time to get up from your desk and think on your feet, then chances are you’ll be in your element at a show like Interpack. Over the course of three days I was darting from one building to the other, delivering press packs, hosting press conferences and meeting faces old and new at networking events. I’d run out of business cards by the end of day one! It was literally non-stop – and I loved every minute of it.
Come to think about it, to say that I ‘survived’ Interpack is probably not the right expression. Considering it turned out to be such a rewarding experience, I think it’s more appropriate to say I lived it. So Messe, Interpack… It’s been a pleasure. Looking forward to seeing you again in 2017!