Everyone involved in event planning dreams of organising that one, breakthrough event—the “Mother of all Events”, the event that sets the industry standard, the event that people will remember for years to come.
From the client with a product to launch, an anniversary to celebrate or a cause to fight for, down to the last production assistant on the event management team—all want, deep down inside, to be part of an event they can tell their grandkids about.
Yet, to define a so-called “legendary” event would be to define what makes a classic; to identify what makes Mozart or Shakespeare endure to this day. The closest we can come to a definition in a domain which encompasses marketing, public relations and corporate conferences, is to take a look at a few events which industry experts generally recognise as tough acts to follow.
While this very short list (compiled from Econsultancy, Ad Age and Inc.) is by no means conclusive, it does provide some insight into what goes into creating a legend—one that translates into better branding, greater sales and a higher profile for the client.
Red Bull’s Stratos Jump
Felix Baumgartner made the world’s highest skydive in 2012 courtesy of Red Bull. For a brand whose image gets a major boost from extreme sporting events, jumping some 38 kilometres above the face of the earth is pretty darn extreme.
Small wonder the event was one of the year’s biggest in terms of media exposure, as it was covered by international news agencies and talked about just about everywhere. The dive has even been referred to as one of the greatest ever content marketing campaigns.
Disney’s Doc McStuffin Clinic
Count on Disney turn a little girl’s fantasy clinic into PR-perfect promotions. Taking the good doctor’s clinic from TV to Tesco, Smyths and Toys R Us, Disney gave kids a first-hand experience of what it’s like to be Doc McStuffin. Nearly 8,000 kids got to diagnose what was wrong with Big Ted, watch clips from the “Doc McStuffin” show, and play with programme merchandise.
Event surveys later revealed that 75% of the event attendees had an “excellent” experience, which increased their propensity to buy merchandise by 5.3%.
7-Eleven’s The Simpsons Movie
In another small-screen to real-life jump, 20th Century Fox tied up with 7-Eleven to recreate the Kwik-E-Mart from “The Simpsons” TV show to promote “The Simpsons Movie” back in 2007. Not only did they change the façade of 12 stores, but they also sold KrustyO’s, Buzz Cola and Squishees from the show. They even released a “Radioactive Man” comic book, and displayed life-size Springfield citizens on-site.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Arguably a legend among event marketing legends, Macy’s iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade was conceptualised by the store’s employees back in 1924. The event was meant to announce the opening of “The World’s Largest Store”, and was actually meant to be a Christmas parade. Macy’s staffers had taken part in that first parade themselves alongside professional performers.
Now, almost a hundred years since that first parade back in 1924, Macy’s still holds this annual event which draws a crowd of some 3.5 million people, and some 50 million TV viewers.
Samsung’s Wave Launch
Samsung launched the Samsung Wave S8500 in February of 2010 with a live digital event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The event organisers constructed a huge room with a 360-digital cube and 32 HD projectors, to immerse the audience in the graphics capabilities of the new device. Live performances completed the event experience.
Two months later, the Wave went on to sell 1 million units in the first four weeks after its release.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Clean Up
Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, “everything but the kitchen sink”, detergent manufacturer, Mrs. Meyers made a giant kitchen sink out of a fountain in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. Using white balloons for soap bubbles, the sink contained a giant cup and saucer as well as a huge sponge and an oversized bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Dish Soap.
The company used its eye-catching event to give out samples and to give to charity, donating two dollars for every sample taken.
Snapple’s White Tea High Tea Tour
Snapple says that this high-flying event was one of its most successful ever promotions. Organised to launch its White Teas as “The Lightest Tasting Teas on Earth”, Snapple toured nine cities in 2010 to launch people some 365 meters into the air via helium balloons. Each of the three helium balloons was almost seven meters and featured a new Snapple White Tea flavour.
The company was able to give out 21,000 samples of its new tea, as well as spark 33 million media impressions and gain coverage in BrandWeek and The New York Times.
Showing that cold, computer logic can be human, too, IBM pitted its Watson artificial intelligence supercomputer against two former trivia champions on “Jeopardy” in 2011.
After donating Watson’s 1-million-dollar prize to charity, IBM has developed its supercomputer into a cloud service for data analytics. It has likewise offered seed funding to mobile developers able to incorporate Watson into their projects.
Ikea’s Slumber Party
That this event had its origins in the Facebook fan group, “I wanna have a sleepover in Ikea” says something about the role social media plays in event planning.
Ikea gave 100 out of the almost 100,000 group members an actual sleepover at its warehouse, during which they enjoyed manicures, massages and a bedtime story read aloud by a TV celebrity. Ikea also had a sleep expert at the event to advise people on picking out a new mattress.
The Common Denominator
As diverse as these events appear to be a first glance, they all have the “Triple H” that separates the run-of-the-mill product launch or promo from the event management legends:
- They were all huge.
- They were all close to home.
- And they all had heart.
All these events were “big” on some level or other—Red Bull had the world’s highest parachute jump, Samsung put its guests in a giant, 3D holo-cube, and even Doc McStuffins had a big teddy bear that needed some TLC.
And no matter how outrageous the underlying concepts seemed to be, they were all directly tied into the brand or the product being promoted. People were able to connect the event concept with the brand without too much thought.
Launching people over 300 meters into the air makes sense when you tell them it’s all about the world’s lightest-tasting teas. Nothing says “spend, spend, spend” more than a lavish, public display put on at the start of the shopping holidays. And nobody who’s ever seen “The Simpsons” can fail to recognise the Kwik-E-Mart, or the people in it, at the very least.
But arguably the most important feature of these legendary events is that they were able to touch people on some deeper, emotional level—instead of just stopping at “this is the brand we want you to buy”.
Ikea made customers feel that it listened to what they had to say on social media, and treated them to a real, honest-to-goodness party of the kind they had hitherto only fantasised about on Facebook. The squeaky-clean Mrs. Meyer and the analytical A.I., Watson showed they had a heart by giving to the less fortunate.
Generosity generally makes people feel good about themselves and their fellow men; therefore, they become more inclined to support brands that appeal to their sense of humanity.
Understanding what goes into the making of a legendary event is the first step towards creating a legend of your own. Get in touch with us at Pride Events today and work with a passionate event company in Singapore backed with 20 years of experience and make your corporate or consumer events great memories to remember.