Next time you blow out a birthday candle think about the future of exhibitions.

I sat and watched a rerun of the movie 21 with my wife recently. There was a birthday scene with a cake glowing with birthday candles to which my wife said something quite profound and equally saddening. She said ‘this was obviously pre Covid….. no one blows out candles anymore and probably never will ever again

Strangely enough that made me think of the exhibition industry and prompted me to do some research. It is true that with Covid people are more aware than ever about the potential hazards associated with blowing out birthday candles. A recent study has shown that bacteria levels on cake icing increased by some 1400 percent after the act of blowing out candles. ( ABC Western Plains, Jen McCutcheon) So this was probably never really a great idea in the first place let alone now with Covid lurking about.Small Colored flame candle (1).jpg

So what you may ask?

Well here is an industry that not many really gave a second thought to. Politicians and the average person on the street have probably not considered for a minute the job losses in the candle making industry and the knock on affect down stream with bakers who have had to rethink their birthday cake businesses. This industry has flown under the radar. Why is that so and what is the relevance to us in the exhibition industry? 

Consider these parallels:

As a percentage of GDP one would have to argue that the candle industry is very small indeed. It’s a fragmented industry with low barriers to entry and a perceived low impact on society. The benefit to society of blowing out birthday candles is not really understood and if birthday candles disappeared tomorrow, well, life would go on although the wishes and dreams of many would not be fulfilled. Employment levels are not significant, it’s low tech and is not pushing any technology agendas of significance and is only required episodically when a birthday is happening. 

Does any of this sound remotely similar to our industry?

Sure, I am drawing a bit of a longbow here to make a point and I can hear you already saying ‘The exhibition industry is far more important than some birthday candles’. But, what we think is not what is important. It is the outside perception of our industry that counts.

The fact is that the impact to society of our industry is not fully appreciated.  If it were then we would be placed differently as an industry right now and have the political influence enjoyed by other industries. Lets face it, people struggle to understand precisely what this industry is all about let alone its value.

We are being told that we should expect more regular pandemic type disruptions in future. This is perhaps the time to reconsider how we as a global industry should position ourselves for the future, what alliances we should forge and how to better develop a common voice.

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I don’t know about you but I believe in those candles and all those wishes that may or may not come true. Those wishes and dreams and hopes are what our customers rely on us to deliver in the exhibition industry. They trust in us to deliver a brighter future. I am heading out to buy some candles now. No pandemic is going to strip me of my hopes and dreams.



Contact: Cici Ren

Phone: +86 15373024760


Add: Zijingyuecheng 11-5,Tangu North Street NO.62, Chang'an District, Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province, China.