Mainstay delivers the creative goods for AWS at NRF’s Big Show

Jan 8, 2024

With this year’s NRF the Big Show fast approaching, we wanted to look back at our experience helping one of our biggest clients at last year’s conference.

By Gillian Arthur, Consultant and Strategic Writer, Mainstay

With this year’s NRF conference fast approaching, we wanted to look back at our experience helping one of our biggest clients at last year’s event. Before last year’s conference, AWS asked Mainstay to do something new: develop creative content for their booth at the National Retail Foundation’s annual conference — NRF’s the Big Show, the largest retail trade event in the world.


Every January, NRF brings together thousands of global brands and vendors, offering retailers the chance to experience the latest innovations in retail, hear from the biggest changemakers, and even get to network with them, too.


For many years, AWS has hosted a booth at NRF where AWS retail experts share insights and success stories, as well as feature AWS and Amazon technology demonstrations. To accompany these demonstrations and “level up” its booth, AWS asked Mainstay to make a series of creative booth content for NRF 2022. However, due to COVID, this was delayed to 2023.


After lots of brainstorming, strategic planning, and a big dose of creativity, our creative booth content was featured – and very well received by attendees – at Retail’s Big Show in January of this year. In fact, the AWS booth was featured in Retail Info Systems (RIS) News as one of the most eye catching booths of NRF 2023. “On the show floor there are always a few standout booths displaying dazzling tech to attendees. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was one example, packed with attendees checking out cutting-edge technology,” including, “an array of physical and digital commerce innovations on display,” the article reads.


Thinking outside the box – inside a screen

With the exception of table tent displays, everything Mainstay created for the AWS NRF booth was optimized for display on digital screens. This included presentations, animations, and videos that viewers can watch at any point during their booth visit for a self-guided experience.


Since AWS hadn’t made an NRF appearance since 2020, we knew the stakes for impressing attendees were very high. The content needed to be more than just visually striking, it needed to make a lasting impression on eager attendees – it needed to reflect the innovative spirit of AWS.

“We started by engaging in a detailed consultation with AWS to understand their objectives, target audience, and the context of the project. For the NRF 2023 booth, the client expressed a desire for more dynamic and interactive partner decks,” says Mainstay Creative Director Roberto Fernandez. Because of this, “The interactive decks and attendee guide were designed with the end-users in mind, creating a user-centric experience that enhanced engagement and information accessibility.”


Digital attendee guide

Designed in an interactive format, the NRF 2023 Digital Attendee Guide is a “one-stop-shop” for attendees to gain key information on NRF happenings, including schedules, demonstrations, and session descriptions. Thanks to its interactive design, the guide can be viewed by – and shared to – any device (thanks to its QR code). The Digital Attendee Guide is the perfect digital companion for any on-the-go NRF attendee to take their own self-guided tour of all that AWS has to offer.


The idea of the interactive attendee guide was an innovative suggestion from our team. We proposed this as a replacement for the traditional paper version, offering attendees a more engaging and dynamic way to access information about speakers and shows during the NRF event.


“Exhibitor Big Ideas” presentations

The “Exhibitor Big Ideas” sessions draw a big interest for NRF attendees. These sessions feature “the industry’s brightest solution providers” who “demo the latest products and share insightful case studies.” Needless to say, these sessions are a big deal. Luckily for Mainstay, we got to create “Exhibitor Big Ideas” presentation decks for Nieman Marcus and Carters. These decks were designed to accompany both company’s presentations and were featured on the first day of the conference.


Touch-screen demo decks

Designed for touch-screen presentation monitors, these demo decks incorporated interactive elements like clickable links, animated graphics, and other multimedia elements to engage the audience. These easy-to-use, and easy to recognize, touch screen elements gave users a more personalized experiences, allowing them to navigate and learn more about a variety of topics, like immersive commerce and retail ops, all on their own.

Additional assets

Some additional assets featured in the AWS NRF 2023 booth included: 

  • Partner loop presentations: These presentation slide decks featured partner info that played continuously on a screen so attendees could catch disparate information at different points during their booth journey.
  • Partner videos: These videos featured partner-specific statistics intended to be used in booth presentations and digital content.
  • Customer insight and commerce demos: Including animated, touch screen and video components, these demos were visual components for speakers in the booth.
  • Branded visual display items: Beyond the partner decks, branded visual display items like table tents, social cards, banners, and mock-ups for merchandise were made to enhance the overall booth experience for attendees.


Mainstay helped lead this strategic creative effort and ultimately delivered a memorable visitor experience at the AWS NRF booth. If you’d like to learn more about how Mainstay can help create a memorable experience at your next conference or event, reach out to

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