IPEX is gone – iconic UK trade show pulls the plug

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IPEX London 2014.
IPEX London 2014.

Bowing to the inevitable the organizers of IPEX have called it quits following two disastrous trade shows, one in London where it broke tradition by moving to the capital, the second a vain attempt to return to its spiritual home in Birmingham.

According to Rob Fisher, the exhibition’s event director, the organizers blamed changing market conditions rather than accept any blame. “The changing market conditions and appetite for a large-scale event which focuses on Print in Action continues to be challenging. Having engaged with a range of exhibitors and partners to evaluate the options for IPEX, we have concluded that the requirements of the industry no longer match our own in terms of the cycle, scale and what is required to help us further support and fully invest in the brand.

“Through IPEX, we’re proud to have played a role in an important and diverse industry, and to have supported a brand that has such a long history. We enjoyed organizing and delivering IPEX 2017 and received positive feedback from exhibitors, many of whom recorded excellent levels of interest and sales at the event. We’d like to wish our partners, exhibitors, and everyone we’ve worked with on IPEX every success as the industry continues to evolve.”

According to Andy McCourt, associate editor of Print21 and a long-term supporter of the show, the fault lay not in the stars but with some fundamental flaws in management. “It’s an understandable move by Informa Exhibitions. The lesson should have been learned long ago – never move away from your market; nurture and cherish your customers and most of all – don’t piss the trade media off!”

IPEX long held a special place in the heart of the Australian and New Zealand Printing industries. With many print company owners proudly wearing a London School of Printing credential, the opportunity to add on a few weeks tax-free holiday in the ‘old country’ made the show a much loved pilgrimage.

With the easy familiarity of language and custom, locals flocked in their hundreds to the National Convention Centre in Birmingham. The Print21 IPEX barbeque was a highlight of the industry’s social calendar.

“Sad to see it go really, but it’s what Andy McCourt says, stay close to your market,” lamented Patrick Howard, former Print21 publisher, who along with McCourt, organised the famed barbeques. “But we still have drupa.”

Postscript
Indian Printer and Publisher and Packaging South Asia editor Naresh Khanna adds, “Yes, Andy McCourt says it well, ‘never move away from your market; nurture and cherish your customers and most of all – don’t piss the trade media off!’ Actually the shift in the industry’s centre of gravity became apparent at China Print in 2005, and soon after, John Brazier and PICON-BPIF quite astutely sold IPEX.

“The Indian and South Asian visitors too, many with London School of Printing credentials and appreciative of the empathetic solid work of the old Monotype and Linotype with Indian language fonts were fond of IPEX. In later years it fitted in well with a holiday in Scotland although the attitude of the new organizers became perhaps a bit colonial for some of us.”

The article was first published by Print 21 (https://print21.com.au/ipex-is-gone-iconic-uk-trade-show-pulls-the-plug/161178)

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