According to art director, designer, and author George Lois, "Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything." Indeed, not only do the 2014 winners of EXHIBITOR Magazine's Corporate Event Awards understand the power of creativity and originality, but they have also put it to work in their programs – devising unique and imaginative strategies that captivated attendees and delivered hard-core results.
In fact, the 2014 jury, a panel of six event-marketing experts from both the client and supplier sides of the fence, touted winners for their ability to craft the unimagined, and to surprise and delight event attendees. After eight hours of analysis in a Las Vegas boardroom, the jury finally agreed upon five winners that they called "novel," "transformative," and "utterly imaginative."
Take the Tillamook County Creamery Association, which won the competition's top honor, the Judges' Choice Award. To generate brand awareness at a food festival, Tillamook developed a late-night sandwich-delivery tactic. Instead of trying to compete with much larger, deep-pocket brands during the day, Tillamook hand delivered custom-ordered sandwiches to the industry's movers and shakers between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. Reaching key influencers when the big brands were snoozing, Tillamook scored almost 29 million media impressions for less than $49,000.
German auto manufacturer Adam Opel AG (aka Opel) also turned out an original experience at the Paris Motor Show. Hoping to score media attention with 300 of the show's accredited journalists and select influencers, Opel treated them (30 at a time) to coffee and croissants at vibrant Paris cafes. But as they sipped and nibbled, Opel served up a one-of-a-kind, drive-by spectacle in front of their eyes, as a street poet suddenly stood up and started "slamming" to promote the company's new ADAM cars. At the end of their rhythmic rants, ADAMs zoomed up in front of the cafe so journalists could take a closer look. Hailed by judges as a program that "threw away the rules," the strategy made the ADAM one of the show's most talked about cars.
So please join us in congratulating the 2014 Corporate Event Award winners. May their original ideas spark the fires of invention and help stretch the boundaries of possibility for your own programs. For as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions."
manager, Global Event Management Services, Thomson Reuters, Eagan, MN;
president and general manager, Activity Planners Inc., Las Vegas;
senior director, Siemens Healthcare Health Services, Malvern, PA;
event marketing consultant, author of "The Event Marketing Handbook," San Francisco;
director of production,
Encore Productions Inc.,
managing director, North America, Von Hagen GmbH, Las Vegas