Similar to the advertising and PR industries, events have a presence that dates back thousands of years. Today, events have evolved to form an industry and have become an effective communications medium to share, transmit and communicate messages to an audience. During the late 1st century BC, ‘gladiator combat’, which is a form of martial arts and a prominent event, used the ‘arenas’ as a venue for their fight performances, entertaining thousands of spectators who gathered to watch these games. These events were planned, themed and had a clear communications objective: to send a strong message to a city, its ruler, and the spectators.
This very same creative tool is still one of the most effective means of communication, if not the best one today. Unfortunately, many firms do not realize the full potential that events have to offer; some only utilize events as a means to wow their audiences, without a clear and concise objective. At times, this could lead to a short-term impact, failing to achieve their ROIs significantly. However, better informed entities are now under more pressure to deliver upon their ROIs and have realized that events are no longer about the bells and whistles, or the light, sound and decoration, but more about resonating messages and experiences. It’s definitely not nuclear science. It simply boils down to creativity, or what we like to call “purposeful creativity”.
The London Olympics opening and closing ceremonies exemplify the re-invention of events. The team working on this event played a key role in transforming the ‘special events’ landscape. By ditching the usual marching bands, flag carriers, and mass choreography routines, the team gave the entire world a visual and emotional experience that is based on a well-knit story. Through this spectacular event, they were able to demonstrate how the UK is proud of its rich history, its culture, successful business, industrial revolution and renaissance.
This is how each and every creative event should be: an experience with a clear purpose. Events should use a multi-disciplinary approach, capitalizing on all possible tools, channels and relevant technologies and integrating all these various elements to communicate this purpose. Following this formula will result in an extraordinary experience that will captivate and engage the audience.
Today, there is an abundance of accessible tools and technologies that can be used to execute and deliver extraordinary events. The secret to making these tools work for you is to define how you want to use them. For example, the hologram technology has been there for many years. Pepper’s ghost is an illusion technique used in theatres, haunted houses, dark rides, and magic tricks. The technique came from John Henry Pepper, a scientist who popularized the effect in a famed demonstration in 1862, however, many still think that it is a recently invented technology.
At Prisme, we had the challenge of revealing the Dubai Tram project to the world in a purposeful, creative and innovative way. We designed and constructed the largest hologram screen ever built using Musion 3D holographic projection technology. This screen was the main platform used to engage and communicate the purpose of this new means of transportation that Dubai brought to its community members. We worked closely with various stakeholders, advertising, social media and public relations agencies and this integrated collaboration led to the execution of a complete, full-rounded and impactful launch.
There is a powerful edge in using creative events as part of the integrated marketing communications mix. When created with a clear purpose, event experiences can instantly communicate a clear message to the target audience that is captivated by the brand and is immersed in the experience.
Once entities begin to realize their full potential and start to utilize them correctly, events can be the most effective means of communications to engage audiences. After all, experiences last a lifetime and a good event can always be unforgettable.