As visitor engagement has become one of the key criterion exhibitors measure success against, new trends to elicit excitement on the show floor have been popping up and evolving from show to show and year to year. One of the biggest namedroppers, virtual reality, has taken movement and shown its forms in everything from product demos to 360-degree virtual meetings to digital games.

In particular, the gamification of virtual reality has increased as it tends to serve as both an engaging booth attract as well as a way to seamlessly collect lead data.

Known as one of the largest and most prominent healthcare shows, HIMSS is the perfect place for big healthcare players to shine with virtual reality games. In order to stand out amongst over 1,300 other exhibitors, brands need to draw attendees out of the aisle and into their booth. As a long-standing attendee, Elsevier knew they needed to change up their marketing strategy and add an interactive element to gain more face-time with their target audience.


With HIMSS being Elsevier’s biggest show, the brand tasked Derse to draw attendees into their exhibit with an exciting engagement and show their value to the Healthcare IT professionals in attendance. With a budget of $150K, Derse needed to create a short, but impactful engagement that would meet the criteria set by Elsevier’s team of stakeholders.


Elsevier provides information and analytics that help institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance. Derse aimed to take this core mission and represent it visually and in an entertaining-manner.

Creating a virtual reality version of the old-school game, Paperboy, Derse incorporated “The Route to Improved Patient Outcomes” into Elsevier HIMSS booth. Essentially, the game player rides on a bike delivering “knowledge balls” instead of newspaper stacks to the front of healthcare institutions – representing the various medical touchpoints Elsevier delivers information to. Along the route, the game player encounters obstacles such as “Staff Shortage” they need to knock out as well as opportunities to improve patient outcomes like “Interactive Patient Education” they should hit.

In order to play the game, attendees pedaled on stationary bikes set up in front of a computer screen, wearing VR goggles that took them through the paper route. Players with a high score were asked to input their name into the leader board, which would display on a screen within the booth.

To provide a deeper level of Elsevier’s value to the IT healthcare professionals in attendance, in-booth staff were trained to carry on the conversation after players were finished with the Paperboy game. Additionally, a self-serve survey kiosk served as an attendee touchpoint and informative center. Attendees answered a set of survey questions, data was aggregated and then projected on a giant 3x3 video screen – serving as an aisle attract and educational messaging on industry standards.


Derse helped reaffirm Elsevier’s brand presence at HIMSS with the VR engagement element.

Derse was tasked to create a crowd-drawing element for Elsevier, and draw in a crowd we did.

In an industry as competitive as healthcare, it’s difficult to increase, let alone maintain, time spent with attendees at a show. Derse showed Elsevier they could increase engagement by incorporating a game that not only served as an entertaining element in a sea of exhibitors, but could act as a turning point for booth staff to further the conversation about Elsevier and it services.

The Paperboy game served as an impactful aisle attract, with a continuous line to play

Captured over 500 leads. Exceeding the previous year’s lead count.

38% of leads were decision makers for their companies