We have been planning a regional rollout for the last few months.
Culminating in a biggie transition event where the baton was handed over to the markets to start to build local plans.
Usually this would take the form of a M4/Heathrow/PowerPoint orgy/branded pads/pens/salad bar. This week has seen us kick this tradition into touch and activate using 27,000 sq. ft of The Old Truman Brewery, (that’s 4 times the size of an Olympic Swimming pool), 19 countries, 150 people, 9 sets built, 1 stage, cool caterers and a rather fun sized graffiti wall. An uber-rollout.
The opportunity proved to be a step towards us using some of the principles of experience design that Central St Martins set me up with – focus on the narrative, not just the story, examine the geography, figure out the level of covert/overt communication you want and don’t do a sticker campaign. With these in mind we have been working hand in glove with our guys on the inside to develop a journey, support and train facilitators, developed some cool stimulus and set the brand above and beneath all activities. It culminated in a pretty mind blowing 5 days, with action stations/audiences in the room for 2 of these.
As with anything new risk was present. If you want predictable then head to the Radission – they do meetings really well, just the same one. If you want Wow, then grow a pair and strive for the new. It’s been a mixture of bloody scary, buzzing like mad and organisational focus.
I was lucky enough to be host/master of ceremonies for the two days. A far easier job than the rest of the team, who I could see the other side of the footlights orchestrating the most creative meeting in my career. As we set up sessions, hired heaters, built the energy, the team made it come together like no other. Matt, Nat, James and I certainly had the odd moment where the scale and distance from the traditional certainly caused us to need to get our shit together. But for me that has been part of the joy.
Once our ace client team left to head off on well deserved holidays, we all experienced a Ocean’s Eleven moment of reflection and classical realisation. We did it. Simply smashed it.
The pressure was most evident about an hour into our post event wash up/quiet drink that turned into a Lock Stock style session that resulted in me being banned from a restaurant for life, us highjacking a 21st birthday, a trapeze artist’s manly chest being touched up and a wine waiter pretending to be a pirate. It was surreal, only now are the receipts starting to help it all make sense.
I wish you were here to see some of the set up, ideas and scale of the event. It’s truly awesome. Truly. We are showing and telling next week to the group and beginning to plan the next wave which sees us take on 35 local markets. James (midway through 21st birthday shots with a stranger) kicked us off with an interesting idea regarding approaching our next task as an sequential experience theatre. Now there is an idea.