Change in Washington by shuifanglj


									                                                                                                                              Change in
                                                                                                                              André Wells offers an
                                                                                                                              alternative to classic D.C.
                                                                                                                              entertaining: decor-heavy
                                                                                                                              evenings ripe with surprises.                                               Branding It Both Ways
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Inspired by Macbeth, the Folger Shakespeare Library gala in Washington had
                                                                                                                                                                                                          mystical elements, including beef tenderloin seared with a pentacle symbol by
                                                                                                                              André Wells is the go-to planner for companies in the capital look-         Occasions Caterers—a trick that could also work with a logo or other design.
                                                                                                                              ing to break from the standard. He started his company, Events by
                                                                                                                              André Wells, in 2003, after 13 years on the D.C. circuit at PBS, RSVP
                                                                                                                              Catering, and Capitol Companies. Now his clients include Microsoft
                                                                                                                                                                              and Dell, and for BET
                                                                                                                                                                              Network he produced
                                                                                                                                                                              two nights of star-stud-
                                                                                                                                                                              ded soirees for its first
                                                                                                                                                                              BET Honors award show
                                                                                                                                                                              in January. The after-
                                                                                                                                                                              party alone transformed
                                                                                                                                                                              the otherwise bare
                                                                                                                                                                              Ronald Reagan Building
                                                                                                                                                                              and International Trade
                                                                                                                                                                              Center into a purple-
                                                                                                                                                                              draped affair with regal
                                                                                                                                                                              aspirations. But his most
                                                                                                                                                                              involved 2008 event was
                                                                                                                                                                              Washington Life’s “The
                                                                                                                                                                              Young and the Guest
                                                                                                                                                                              List” party in February,
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sushi Platter Shake-Up

                                                                                                                                                                              where he dressed three
                                                                                                                                                                              different venues—the        Instead of serving sushi on a picked-over platter, Toronto’s Liberty Grand
                                                                                                                                                                              St. Regis, Halcyon House,   Entertainment Complex put rolls in stemless martini glasses, complete with
                                                                                                                                                                              and Josephine Lounge—       chopsticks, at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Mozart Unlaced benefit.
                                                                                                                                                                              for three consecutive
                                                                                                                              events in one evening. Most impressive: keeping everything a secret
                                                                                                                              from the 350 guests.
                                                                                                                              How do you prepare for these complex, multivenue events?
                                                                                                                              You have to be very focused, and you have to anticipate problems. I
                                                                                                                              always imagine myself as a guest. If you have A, B, and C locations,
                                                                                                                              you have to wonder, “Am I going to ride a shuttle bus? Is parking
                                                                                                                              near?” You have to ask those questions. You want the guests to have
                                                                                                                              an experience and to not have to think about anything.
                                                                                                                              What’s your favorite space in Washington?
                                                                                                                              The Mandarin Oriental is a great spot for big events, because they
                                                                                                                              give you a lot of autonomy. For smaller functions, I’ve always loved
                                                                                                                              the Decatur House, because it’s cozy and unique and is in a great
                                                                                                                              How is D.C. different from other cities?
                                                                                                                              Washington is a conservative town and is known for its cocktail
                                                                                                                              parties, which start at 5 p.m. and are over by 8 p.m.. But the next
                                                                                                                              generation of D.C. socialites and business executives is looking for a
                                                                                                                              different sort of night. So I try to start things at nontraditional times
                                                                                                                              and look for ways to wow them. You have to reach those expecta-
                                                                                                                              tions and supersede yourself. —Danielle O’Steen
                                                                                                                                                                                                          A Centerpiece With a Second Life
                                                                                                                                                                                                          For the Robin Hood Foundation’s gala in New York, David Stark created decor
                                                                                                                           ON BIZBASH.COM                                                                 with goods that were donated after the event. XO laptops served as center-
                                                                                                                         Our coverage of Andre Wells’ work for BET and Washington Life.                   pieces and flashed images of flowers, statistics, and a dinner menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       winter 2008-09 59

                                                                               David Stark designed a tentlike dining
                                                                               environment for the New York City
                                                                               Opera’s spring gala, taking a cue from

          CEILING MAKEOVERS                                                    the medieval vibe of the evening’s
                                                                               production of King Arthur.

                                                                                                                        PHOTOS: JOE FORNABAIO FOR BIZBASH (TOP), MARY HILLARD (LEFT), KEITH SIRCHIO FOR BIZBASH

                                                                                             Van Wyck & Van Wyck
                                                                                             fashioned a drop
                                                                                             ceiling of interwoven
                             Van Wyck & Van Wyck crisscrossed 3,000                          bands of fabric at the
                             yards of blue, red, and green silk strips above                 Whitney Museum of
                             the dinner tables for a New York benefit for                     American Art’s Art
                             arts nonprofit Studio in a School.                               Party in New York.

60 winter 2008-09
                                                               Scripting Reality
                                                               Valerie Brown is promoting Bravo’s new and returning
                                                               series with attention-getting stunts and tours.
                                                               In television, like fashion, you’re either in or you’re   advice seminar with the star of Million Dollar         replicas of all
                                                               out, and staying relevant in the still-evolving           Matchmaker, and dance classes at Crunch gyms           five New York
                                                               medium is not as easy as it once was. Internal            nationwide to promote Step It Up and Dance. “As        City boroughs
                                                               marketers need to approach their existing and             you grow, budgets become more accessible, but          in Grand Cen-
                                                               potential audiences from every direction, and for         at the same time, you have to maintain profitabil-      tral Station for
                                                               Bravo director of digital marketing and events            ity,” says Brown. “We pick anchor events to invest     the launch of
                                                               Valerie Brown, that task hinges on creating signa-        in and to put on a large platform. When you have       the New York
                                                               ture moments to herald the premieres of new and           the breadth of programming we have, you have to        season of Top
                                                               existing series.                                          make strategic decisions.”                             Chef. The contestants will cook ethnic cuisines
                                                                                                                                                                                representative of New York neighborhoods for
                                                               FIRST IN A SERIES Brown joined the network in             A CUT ABOVE In one of the year’s standout              guests willing to donate $10 to the New York Food
                                                               2004, on the eve of an extensive rebranding initia-       events, Brown gave hairstyling competition Shear       Bank. Earlier this year, Brown maintained buzz for
                                                               tive. That effort included the launch of Project          Genius a push for its sophomore season that it         the series with “Top Chef: The Tour,” a three-month
                                                               Runway, the first series she worked on closely,            didn’t receive for its first outing. The series’ 11     promotion in which past contestants gave cooking
                                                               collaborating with producers Magical Elves and            contestants, along with host Jaclyn Smith, set up      demonstrations at Whole Foods markets in 20 cit-
                                                               IMG Fashion to run the front of the house for the         shop in a makeshift salon in the middle of Times       ies across the country.
                                                               contestants’ Bryant Park fashion shows. In the four       Square, using artistic chairs designed by students
                                                               years since, Bravo has grown each year, posting re-       at the School of Visual Arts. “We hit every goal       ANOTHER PROJECT This fall Bravo lost flagship
                                                               cord ratings in 2007 and then again in the second         with that one,” Brown says. “High traffic, iconic       property Project Runway to Lifetime, but it’s hard
                                                               quarter of 2008.                                          location, working with a creative partner in SVA,      for Brown to dwell on the departure. Her network
                                                                                                                         and creating a showcase where we were able to          has a record 24 new and returning series slated
                                                               EXPANDING LINEUP Brown became team                        display the talent of the stylists on the show.”       for 2009, and she’s already brainstorming how to
                                                               director in 2006, working with Bravo senior vice                                                                 tackle them all. “At the end of the day,” she says,
                                                               president of marketing Ellen Stone. She recently          GLORIOUS FOOD Trying to achieve all of those           “I want to create a strategy where we’re creat-
                                                               produced a competition to find a new cast                  goals moving forward, Bravo’s biggest 2008 event       ing events for all of our new series and all of our
                                                               member for gym reality show Work Out, a dating            sees Brown and designer Larry Abel creating 3-D        returning franchises.” —Michael O’Connell

                                                                A Dressed-Up
                                                                Target debuted its new Converse
                                                                collection at an unofficial MTV
                                                                Movie Awards after-party in Los
                                                                Angeles, where event design firm
                                                                Caravents framed the retailer’s
                                                                and shoe company’s logos on the
                                                                press wall.

                                                                                                                                                                     winter 2008-09 61

Pools as Performance Spaces
For the Inter-Pacific Bar Association’s conference in Los
Angeles, Pivotal Events hired synchronized swimmers
from Winning Performance to entertain in the hotel’s
pool during the welcome reception.

    Return on Investment
    Lee Kite keeps sponsors coming back—with
    more than $2 million for one benefit.
    As director of distinguished events at the Il-         ment, along with an alignment of their brand
    linois division of the American Cancer Society         to a cause that matters to their employees. It is
    since 2005, Lee Kite oversees the organization’s       our responsibility to show them this proof. We
    blockbuster Discovery Ball. This year’s gala           look at this like a small contract. We have fun
    netted more than $2.1 million, exceeding the           coming up with creative, eye-catching pack-
    budgeted goal by more than 15 percent and              ages, which we deliver to a sponsor post-event

                                                                                                                                                                     PHOTOS: COURTESY OF TRACY KWIKER (TOP), NICOLE RADJA FOR BIZBASH
    surpassing the $1.8 million haul from 2007. That       and which demonstrate all of the place-
    success is due in part to the benefit’s board of        ments—photos, programs, clip reels, press clips,
    ambassadors, which Kite created to attract the         etc.—that were promised when the sponsor
    support of local philanthropists and C.E.O.s.          agreed to support. We also enclose a commit-         CONSTANT CONTACT “We try to steward our
    The board grew, too, from 27 members in 2007           ment form for the following year.”                   donors along a continuum of support for the
    to more than 70 this year. Each board member                                                                American Cancer Society. [In 2008] we invited
    makes a financial commitment at the outset              PERSONAL TOUCHES “Our events are pipelines           many of our [Discovery Ball] partners, donors,
    of the ball’s planning process, and Kite and her       to future donors. We want them to be fun and         and guests to our patient navigation center at
    team demonstrate where sponsors’ dollars are           exciting and beautiful, of course, but we’re also    the University of Chicago—we take every oppor-
    going throughout the year.                             looking for partners and ways to gain visibility     tunity to show people exactly how their money
                                                           with attendees. To achieve this, we place special    is being used. Guests also left the Discovery Ball
    PROVING THE RETURN “The American Cancer                emphasis on personal touches. For example,           with a departure gift and a letter from me and
    Society has a national program that provides           right after the Discovery Ball, we gave our C.E.O.   our event chair, thanking them and telling them
    heavy training in proof of sponsorship. Spon-          a list of major donors. He carved out time to        that they’d be hearing from us within the next
    sors want to see viability and return on invest-       make direct thank-you calls to these people.”        couple of months.” —Jenny Berg

62 winter 2008-09
                                                                                         Home Maker
                                                                                         Jessica Meisels launched the
                                                                                         Malibu beach house marketing
                                                                                         pop-up, a format she kept
                                                                                         alive this summer in the face
                                                                                         of legislative challenges.
                                                                                         PROBLEM Fingerprint Communications owner Jessica Meisels
                                                                                         is rightly credited with birthing the trend of the Malibu summer
                                                                                         beach house pop-up in 2006, when the L.A.-based firm produced
                                                                                         and publicized a Polaroid-branded property on the coast. The
                                                                                         corporate-sponsored house hosted events for two summers, while
                                                                                                                                    a half dozen or so other
                                                                                                                                    brands rented nearby
                                                                                                                                    properties to piggyback
                                                                                                                                    on the idea and the buzz
                                                                                                                                    it created among local
                                                                                                                                    influencers and inter-
                                                                                                                                    national press. Then a
                                                                                                                                    Malibu ordinance limiting
                                                                                                                                    commercial events at pri-
                                                                                                                                    vate residences to four per
                                                                                                                                    year—a response to com-         The Washington National Opera’s Opera Ball used illuminated costumes for
                                                                                                                                    plaints from locals about       performers, including a countertenor who donned a garment plugged into
                                                                                                                                    the traffic, paparazzi, and      an outlet at the entrance of the French ambassador’s residence.
                                                                                                                                    other nuisances created
                                                                                                                                    by the events—threat-

                                                                                                                                                                            LIGHTING TAKES
                                                                                                                                    ened the concept this
                                                                                                                                    past summer.

                                                                                                                                     SOLUTION Meisels found
                                                                                                                                     a four-acre cliffside house

                                                                                                                                                                            CENTER STAGE
                                                                                                                                     overlooking the ocean,
                                                                                                                                     a space buffered from
                                                                                                                                     neighbors and gawkers
                                                                                                                                     by the sheer size of its
                                                                                                                                     property. She nixed the

                                                                                                                                     title sponsor, instead call-
                                                                                                                                     ing the space the Project
                                                                                                                                     Beach House and bringing
                                                                                                                                                                    ShowPro created an
                                                                                         in a variety of partners. “Malibu publicly announced an order—
                                                                                                                                                                    evolving multicolor
                                                                                         which has always been in existence—that all properties that have
                                                                                                                                                                    light show, blending
                                                                                         more than 100 people must get a permit. It was something that
                                                                                                                                                                    light and video
                                                                                         was very much publicized last year,” she says. “We have abided by all
                                                                                                                                                                    projection at the Los
                                                                                         Malibu laws; we got permits for every event, and we had city moni-
                                                                                                                                                                    Angeles launch of
                                                                                         tors on property. The city knows we’re not an out-of-control party
                                                                                                                                                                    Remy Martin’s limited-
                                                                                         house. We moved the location to create a safer atmosphere, [where]
                                                                                                                                                                    edition cognac with
                                                                                         the paparazzi couldn’t get to us. Once people were in, it was a safe
                                                                                                                                                                    a David LaChapelle-
                                                                                                                                                                    designed label.
                                                                                         OUTCOME Fingerprint reports it garnered more than 170 million
                                                                                         media impressions for its Lia Sophia clambake and 150 million for
                                                                                         the LnA Fourth of July party at the house. —Shilpa Gopinath

                                                                                       ON BIZBASH.COM Our coverage of the events featured here,
                                                                                     and the vendors that pulled them off.

                                                                                                                                                                                    winter 2008-09 63

Campaign Crusader
Yosi Sergant used youth-friendly ideas
and instantly iconic artwork to help
Barack Obama’s grassroots efforts.
In February, publicist Yosi Sergant helped launch a        more than 10 inclusions in The Los Angeles
campaign movement for Barack Obama that was                Times, and coverage in magazines that
so successful the promotional material inspired            typically refrain from running political
knockoffs, spread virally on social networking sites,      news, like Juxtapoz and Urb.
and traveled to Europe. Sergant, a publicist with
Evolutionary Media Group who had also worked               PEOPLE’S CHOICE The public latched
as California media adviser to the Obama team,             on to the image, which began to pop up
decided to leave his official campaign post to              on social networking sites the day after
volunteer his PR services. “I wanted the freedom of        it debuted at an Oprah Winfrey rally for
developing strategies without submitting them up           Obama in February. Sergant fed the viral
the ladder,” he says. As a volunteer, Sergant helped       frenzy by incorporating the design into

                                                                                                                                                                           PHOTOS: DARIUS TWIN (SERGANT), JOE ORLANDO (FUZESI), COURTESY OF KOHLER, JOHN CULLEN FOR BIZBASH (BRAZILIAN), BIZBASH (SCIENCE CENTRE), EMILY GILBERT FOR BIZBASH (HIGH LINE)
promote the candidate through what has become              fund-raisers, turning to companies like
one of the most iconic images associated with the          Polite in Public to create photo-booth sets featuring    purchased more than 62,000 units from Fairey’s
campaign—the Andy Warhol-like Obama graphic by             the work and giving guests access to downloadable        company, Obey, by September.
street artist Shepard Fairey.                              images. T-shirt company Hit & Run created shirts
                                                           with Fairey’s artwork that went on to blanket            THE FINAL PUSH Sergant and his team used
ART HISTORY Sergant first talked to Fairey about            Facebook profiles.                                        a portion of the profits from the promotional
contributing to the Democratic candidate’s efforts              Offline, supporters wanted posters, too. “The        products to purchase advertising featuring the
at an Adidas party. The next day Fairey emailed his        demand was insatiable,” Sergant says. Sergant and        Obama artwork in four states during the primaries,
design, and Sergant went on to deliver the image           Fairey gave posters to Obama volunteer groups and        and 20 in the general election. Sergant also
to his network of media contacts and coordinate            supporters, but also sold the work, funneling the        funneled money into producing the Manifest Hope
the strategic placement of the posters in front of         income into making larger batches. They initially        Gallery and the free concert called Unconventional
cameras at Obama rallies, as well as in multiple           printed 3,500 posters, but soon made more than           ’08 during the Democratic National Convention.
cities to coincide with local primaries. Sergant has       300,000, eventually printing 20,000 bike spoke           “We easily had 200 media impressions, ranging
tracked several thousand domestic and international        cards and 300,000 stickers as well. Retailer Urban       from the Associated Press to MTV,” says Sergant.
media impressions featuring the image, including an        Outfitters approached Fairey for exclusive rights to      “We had to turn away 100 people, including
appearance on the front page of The New York Times,        the T-shirt in the poster’s signature hues and had       senators.” —Rosalba Curiel

                                                                                                                   global basis, we’ve always said our niche is dif-

     Car Talk                                                                                                      ferent than theirs. We’re in Los Angeles—we’re
                                                                                                                   not in Detroit or Tokyo,” says Fuzesi. “We’ve
                                                                                                                   always been mindful about playing up our local
                                                                                                                   characteristics.” This means a huge luxury car
     Andy Fuzesi revamped the dates of the                                                                         market and consumers who love to customize

     L.A. Auto Show, doubling press attendance                                                                     their cars. And it means selling an environmen-
                                                                                                                   tal message in a city where it matters, while
     and boosting its international profile.                                                                        being aware that L.A. also has a significant con-
                                                                                                                   centration of non-eco-friendly exotic cars.

                        CHANGE AGENT L.A. Auto              from 4,000 in January 2006 to 8,524 in Novem-          THINKING AHEAD Although the date change
                        Show general manager Andy           ber 2007—as well as bigger exhibits and record-        occurred in 2006, show organizers announced it
                        Fuzesi helped oversee a cam-        breaking North American car debuts. “Media             back in 2004. And that’s the kind of time frame
                        paign to change the event’s         coverage is a big measurement tool for us and          Fuzesi likes. “We have a program with the maga-
                        dates from January to Novem-        for the manufacturers,” Fuzesi says. Last year,        zine Green Car Journal to select the green car of
                        ber beginning in 2006, a move       Prime Automotive Research gave the show a No.          the year. Up until this past year, it didn’t get much
                        that significantly increased its     2 ranking in terms of media importance, placing        coverage. Last year, it was our opening [event] and
                        status on the domestic and          it just below Detroit’s venerable auto show. The       got tremendous coverage. It’s a general concept
                        international car show scene        2008 event takes place November 21 to 30.              for all shows and events: Sometimes you have to
     by placing it closer to the beginning of the global                                                           look a few years ahead to see where you’re going.
     show calendar. The new dates led to increased          KNOWING HIS AUDIENCE “There are lots of                Not everything you’re going to try is going to
     media coverage—press-day attendance rose               auto shows, and although we compete on a               work, but this certainly did.” —Alesandra Dubin

64 winter 2008-09
                                                                                Guests ambled along a zigzag carpeted path to
                                                                                enter Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art
                                                                                for a reception to celebrate Kohler’s new faucet.

               GRAND ENTRANCES

Murals lined the walls
of escalators leading
into Toronto’s Brazilian
Carnival Ball, and         At the Ontario Science Centre’s Innovators’ Ball   At New York’s Friends of the High Line benefit,
colorful, parted drapery   in Toronto, a circular black walkway served as a   color-coded portals helped guests find their assigned
decorated the base.        tunnel linking a lounge to the dining space.       dining areas, which had corresponding decor.

                                                             winter 2008-09 65

                                                                                     The Rebound
                                                                                     Sarah Schnell helped Diffa/
                                                                                     Chicago’s gala win back
                                                                                     sponsors—and increase its
                                                                                     revenue by 63 percent.
                                                                                                                             PROBLEM In 2005, the
                                                                                                                             Chicago chapter of De-
                                                                                                                             sign Industries Foundation
                                                                                                                             Fighting AIDS (Diffa) saw
                                                                                                                             some unfortunate on-site
                                                                                                                             logistical challenges mar its
                                                                                                                             annual gala, typically one of
                                                                                                                             the year’s most anticipated
                                                                                                                             events. Although the event
                                                                                                                             was successful in terms of
                                                                                                                             sponsorship and auction
                                                                                                                             revenue, problems with the
A Multi-Tasking Table                                                                                                        caterer, valet, and venue
Michael Tavano put together three distinct looks at one table for the New York                                               resulted in some unfavorable
Design Center space at Diffa’s Dining by Design showcase. Furniture, place set-                                              guest experiences and, ulti-
tings, tabletop accessories, carpets, and wall treatments transitioned from tradi-                                           mately, a drop in sponsorship
tional to modern to young and contemporary looks.                                                                            commitments in 2006. “In the
                                                                                                                             years leading up to the 2006
                                                                                                                             event, although increasingly
                                                                                                                             financially successful, we had
Cocktail Hour,                                                                                                               endured a number of produc-
With a Twist                                                                                                                 tion challenges that many
                                                                                     of our sponsors felt were falling short of their expectations,” says
For Chicago’s Wonka                                                                  Diffa/Chicago gala co-chair Erik Parks. In late 2005, Diffa/Chicago ap-
Ball, a fund-raiser for                                                              proached Total Event Resources and senior program manager Sarah

                                                                                                                                                               PHOTOS: LEE HOAGLAND FOR BIZBASH (SCHNELL), FRANCINE DAVETAL FOR BIZBASH (TABLE), BRIAN CHOI FOR BIZBASH (OTHERS)
the About Face Theatre,                                                              Schnell to partner with them to produce the gala. “The Diffa com-
Calihan Catering served                                                              mittee sources event sponsors, but because of the challenges faced
deconstructed martinis                                                               with the 2005 gala, they were having a tough time securing spon-
comprised of an olive                                                                sorships. And without sponsors, there is no event and less money to
resting atop a piece of                                                              go toward the donor recipients,” says Schnell.
blue cheese and stuffed
with a mini spray-bottle                                                             SOLUTION “The 2006 Diffa gala was about rebuilding confidence,”
of vodka.                                                                            Schnell says. Total Event Resources helped produce a video about
                                                                                     Diffa’s goals and background to give guests a glimpse into where
                                                                                     their donations go. The company also focused on generating more
                                                                                     dollars through auctions. “We assigned an internal point person to
                                                                                     the silent-auction committee to serve as a thread from year to year,”
                                                                                     Schnell says. “We help with what items sell, how to set up the display,
                                                                                     and when to end the silent auction to max out donations.” In 2007,
                                                                                     Total Event Resources suggested a live appeal during the onstage
                                                                                     auction, with the auctioneer illustrating how donations help people
                                                                                     in need, and instituted a diamond raffle, which, in 2008, sold all 100
                                                                                     $100 tickets for a chance to win gems worth $5,000. In total, the
                                                                                     money raised from these initiatives helped Diffa increase its on-site
                                                                                     income by 63 percent from 2005 to 2008.
                                                                                     OUTCOME After the 2006 rebuilding year, the 2007 Diffa gala raised
                                                                                     more than $450,000, and the 2008 gala raised more than $570,000.
                                                                                     In the past three years, Total Event Resources helped increase spon-
                                                                                     sorship dollars by more than $125,000. “We were able to give the
                                                                                     Diffa committee the platform of a memorable event to increase its
No Lines at the Bar                                                                  number of $10,000 and $25,000 sponsors,” Schnell says, “and to ob-
At a Gen Art Chicago event, reps from sponsor Nokia used N810 Internet tab-          tain a $50,000 sponsor, which had not been secured in several years.”
lets to send guests’ orders to a computer behind the bar, and servers delivered                                                         —Wendy Wollenberg
the drinks within minutes.

66 winter 2008-09
                                                              Slow Fizz
                                                              Kevin Tressler taught China how to drink Coke in an eight-year
                                                              campaign that culminated at the 2008 Olympic Games.

                                                              To think of the estimated                                                          serve,” which is from the    long-standing partner of the Olympic movement;
                                                              $70 to $75 million Coca-                                                           contour package and at       and let you see how Coca-Cola participated with
                                                              Cola paid to sponsor the                                                           37.4 degrees Fahrenheit.     the country of China to get its people to express
                                                              2008 Olympics in Beijing                                                           We did the exact same        themselves through art.
                                                              as a modest sum, one only                                                          thing during the Olympic     Is event and experiential marketing in China
                                                              needs to imagine how much                                                          Games. The forecast          different from other countries?
                                                              the company spent on                                                               before the Paralympics       At the end of the day, I think the primary difference
                                                              advertising and promotions.                                                        stands at 26 million         is the local and municipal laws of the city or the
                                                              The games marked Coke’s                                                            servings in the city of      country. The brand means the same thing all over
                                                              largest Olympic effort in                                                          Beijing during the games.    the world. We sell in 200 countries. It’s expressed
                                                              its 80-year history and                                                            Coca-Cola, like most         differently, obviously, based on cultures and
                                                              demanded almost a decade                                                           sponsors, had pavilions      languages, but nothing else is really different.
                                                              of planning. Leading those                                                         throughout Beijing,          How does Coca-Cola’s showing in Beijing compare
                                                              preparations was Coca-                                                             including one at the         to its efforts at previous Olympics?
                                                              Cola’s director of worldwide                                                       Olympic Green. What          This was our biggest-ever activation at the Olympic
                                                              sports and entertainment                                                           were you trying to           Games. Coca-Cola, in Mandarin, when phonetically
                                                              marketing, Kevin Tressler,                                                         accomplish there?            written and directly translated means “delicious
                                                              who worked on projects                                                             That was designed            happiness,” and that’s what Coca-Cola stands for.
                                                              like the Olympic torch relay,                                                      and set up to ensure         We had 151 countries around the world that actually
                                                              emblazoning soda cans                                                              we delivered a perfect       adopted Mandarin packaging during the games,
                                                              across the world with a                                                            corporate citizenship        which we’d never done before.
                                                              Mandarin logo, and building a 40,000-square-foot       message, a heritage message for the company and          The Beijing Games were the most-watched event
                                                              pavilion on the Olympic Green.                         the Olympics, and a message around Coca-Cola.            of all time. Did you expect these Olympics would be
                                                              Coca-Cola started focusing on the Chinese market       If you went through the whole thing, you’d also          that significant?
                                                              just hours after Beijing was chosen as the host city   get the perfect serve. It was a combination of a         Yes, we did early on. One of our strategies was playing
                                                              in 2000. How did the company approach such a           variety of experiences that would hopefully make         a role in “East meets West and West meets East.” That
                                                              long-term campaign?                                    you understand that Coca-Cola is a responsible           strategy was written in 2006, so we knew this would
                                                              When we look at a host country of a global event,      corporate citizen because it believes in the             happen. We’re delighted that it did and that we were
                                                              whether it’s the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics,       environment, that Coca-Cola is ubiquitous and a          able to be a part of it. —Michael O’Connell
                                                              there are different phases that the country goes
                                                              through. There’s the celebration, because there’s
                                                              so much national pride involved with your country
                                                              being chosen to host. Then that country goes
                                                              through changes. New stadiums are built, and the
                                                              people rally around how they’re going to welcome
                                                              the world. This whole phase we could loosely call
                                                              “anticipation.” Once the torch relay begins, from
                                                              the host country’s perspective, the games begin.
                                                              It’s a journey full of emotion and pride. Each of
                                                              these phases or “moments,” as we call them, have
                                                              specific consumer insights, feelings, and emotions
                                                              that we leverage to amplify our brand message.

                                                              The Chinese seem more reluctant to consume soft
                                                              drinks than Western countries. What are the biggest
                                                              challenges of trying to grow the brand there?
                                                              The industry has been growing by double digits
                                                              for the last four or five years in China, and so have
                                                              we, so I wouldn’t necessarily agree that people
                                                              are reluctant to drink soft drinks there. But one of
                                                              the issues we saw in China was that people aren’t
                                                              used to drinking cold Coca-Cola, so the strategies
                                                              we deployed were really quite simple. We used the
                                                              torch relay to create nearly half a billion consumer
                                                              connections—physical connections, literally. As
                                                              the torch traveled, we interacted with people.
                                                                                                                      The Shuang Experience Center on the Olympic Green played up Coke’s
                                                              We used that as a tool to give them a chance to
                                                                                                                      contour bottle and what the company calls “the perfect serve.”
                                                              sample Coca-Cola in what we call “the perfect

                                                                                                                                                                    winter 2008-09 67

                                         Cell phone stations hanging from the
                                         ceiling at the Samsung pavilion allowed
                                         guests the chance to sample music,
                                         movies, and television series.

                                        For the 2008
                                        Summer Olympics
                                        in Beijing, many
                                        of the games’
                                        sponsors camped
                                        out around the
                                        Bird’s Nest Stadium
                                        on the Olympic
                                        Green in elaborately
                                        pavilions. Brands
                                        such as Adidas
                                        and Samsung let
                                        product messaging
                                        take a backseat
                                        to exhibitions on
                                        their environmental
                                        efforts and history
                                                                                   PHOTOS: ERIC POWELL FOR BIZBASH

                                        with the games.
Besides educating consumers
about its products, Samsung’s           By Michael O’Connell
greatest effort with the pavilion
was environmental education.

68 winter 2008-09
                                                                                                                   A walk through the Adidas pavilion
                                                                                                                   culminated in a spiraling, 30-foot tall
                                                                                                                   LED screen made up of nearly 800 tiles.

                                                       The first pavilion that most visitors encountered, Omega sat directly
                                                       across from the entrance to the new Olympic Green subway station

                                                                                          Above the Chinese symbol
                                                                                          of yin and yang at the
                                                                                          Volkswagen pavilion, a display
                                                                                          showed a traditional gas pump
                                                                                          with oil dripping from it and
                                                                                          another spouting organics like
                                                                                          water and plants.

                                                                                                                              A giant likeness of Chinese
Photographs in the “Global Challenges” exhibition of                                                                          basketball player Yao Ming seemed
Johnson & Johnson’s pavilion depicted the company’s                                                                           to burst through the exterior of the
role in aiding international health crises.                                                                                   China Mobile Pavilion.

                                                                                              winter 2008-09 69

                                                                                Food Chain
                                                                                Lee Brian Schrager, the man
                                                                                behind the South Beach Wine &
                                                                                Food Festival, this year set his
                                                                                sights on Manhattan, launching

                                                                                                                                                         PHOTOS: ALISON WHITTINGTON FOR BIZBASH (CRY-BABY), LARA SHIPLEY FOR BIZBASH (BLOOMBERG), TONYA WISE (PICNIC), SETH BROWARNIK (SCHRAGER), BIZBASH (CS, COINTREAU), ELEVATION PHOTOS (TUDORS), COURTESY OF EVENTQUEST
                                                                                an ambitious sister event.
                                                                                Lee Brian Schrager,
Games to Get Guests Talking                                                     director of special
                                                                                events and media
The opening-night party for Cry-Baby on Broadway nodded to the kitschy          relations at Southern
1950s-era of the musical with a faux bake sale manned by prim church ladies     Wine & Spirits, is
from Classic Entertainment Group who quizzed guests about the show and          the founder of the
rewarded correct answers with boxes of sweets.                                  South Beach Wine &
                                                                                Food Festival, which
                                                                                in February drew
                                                                                more than 40,000
                                                                                attendees and 100
                                                                                chefs, and raised
                                                                                more than $1.7 mil-
                                                                                lion for the School of
                                                                                Hospitality and Tour-
                                                                                ism Management at
                                                                                Florida International
                                                                                University. This fall
                                                                                he launched the New
                                                                                York City Wine &
                                                                                Food Festival, which
                                                                                put 18,000 tickets on
                                                                                sale for more than 50
A Place to People-Watch                                                         events at more than
                                                                                10 different sites over
Bloomberg L.P.’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner after-party
                                                                                Columbus Day weekend (October 9 to October 12), with proceeds
in Washington had a high-tech vibe, with monitors airing live footage from
                                                                                going to the Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength.
adjacent areas of the party—including the line to get in.
                                                                                What was the biggest challenge?
                                                                                Just finding the locations probably took us one year—getting the
                                                                                right backdrop is very, very important, as it’s what makes South
                                                                                Beach. I see the meatpacking district as the nucleus of the [New
                                                                                York] festival. We wanted the festival to be grassroots, local, and to
                                                                                make the meatpacking district come alive that weekend. It’s im-
                                                                                portant to know that we’re not bringing South Beach to New York;
                                                                                we’re not looking to replicate or duplicate what we do down there
                                                                                … and we’re not taking anything for granted. We’re building the
                                                                                events around the venues, not the other way around.
                                                                                How about the least challenging aspect?
                                                                                Getting the sponsors on board, even given the crummy economy. [I
                                                                                think it has to do with] the history and success of the South Beach
                                                                                Wine & Food Festival … We have almost $3 million in sponsorship.
                                                                                A launch party in November 2007 drew 1,800 guests and raised
                                                                                more than $300,000.
                                                                                Why did you host the event so far in advance of the actual festival?
                                                                                I was afraid if we didn’t do an event last year, no one would ever
                                                                                believe we were coming. So we focused on the forgotten chef—
                                                                                the pastry chefs. The response was amazing. That night, walking
A Picnic to Pick Up                                                             through the venue, I knew we were onto something. —Anna Sekula
Instead of queueing up for lunch, guests at sneaker brand Superga Italia’s
outdoor boccie festival in Los Angeles got branded tote bags filled with a
picnic spread of a baguette, olive tapenade, brie, salads, and cookies.
                                                                              ON BIZBASH.COM Our coverage of the New York City Wine & Food Festival

70 winter 2008-09
                                                                                                        For a party celebrating the
                                                                                                        launch of a new cocktail
                                                                                                        by French liqueur company
                                                                                                        Cointreau in New York,
     CS magazine’s green-themed Seeds of Spring                                                         planners created a backdrop
     event in Chicago featured lots of eco-friendly                                                     of the brand’s bottles to
     touches, including a chandelier made of                                                            replace the typical step-and-
     recycled water bottles from sponsor Fiji.                                                          repeat in the arrival area.

                                                                             To show off Allsteel’s new Acuity
                                                                             chair in New York, EventQuest
                                                                             created artistic installations that
                                                                             incorporated the product into
                                                                             different scenarios, including a cold
                                                                             room with a chair frozen inside a
                                                                             block of ice.

                                  For the season premiere of The Tudors,
                                  Showtime worked with One Source
                                  Visual Marketing to turn the facade of
                                  New York’s Sheraton Hotel & Towers
                                  into a castle by draping stone-patterned
                                  mesh vinyl over the building.

                                                                         winter 2008-09 71

Off the Books
Comic-Con has grown from a modest gathering
in a hotel basement to a convention that attracts
big-time talent, sponsors, and exhibitors.
Comic-Con International had, perhaps appropriately,       attendance. Key to its broadening appeal was a            staff consulted on how to re-create the convention
underground beginnings. Its first gathering dedicat-       strategy of developing ads that spoke to multiple         for the small screen.) The show has grown so big
ed to comic books and other popular art took place        audiences. “When we first started, our ads were            that it faces accusations of selling out or pandering
in 1970 in the basement of San Diego’s U.S. Grant         specifically geared to genre audiences, and that had       to film and television studios; Glanzer notes that
Hotel and hosted 300 attendees. Now, the event            the potential of ignoring a wider audience, who just      the nonprofit has a long tradition of including mov-
includes more than 350 hours of seminars, work-           needed to be exposed to it,” says director of market-     ies and TV shows in the convention, having staged
shops, and panel discussions, and is the largest of its   ing and public relations David Glanzer. The organiza-     its first film festival in 1976, long before megamar-
kind, welcoming more than 125,000 this past July.         tion developed more universal ads—ones that could         keting existed. And besides: “For us, the big celebri-
And those are just the hard-core Watchmen and             appeal to, say, both comic-book and sci-fi fans—and        ties are the people who draw and write the comics,”
Stan Lee fans. Major movie and television studios         the result was the ability to run a single ad that        he says. “Matt Groening is just as much a celebrity
have also jumped on the Comic-Con bandwagon in            grabbed the attention of more potential attendees.        on the floor as any A-list movie star.”
recent years, with Warner Bros., Universal, ABC, and      (For example, an early TV ad featured a man dressed
NBC sponsoring and holding events. Coverage of            as Thor talking about the event; a later commercial       HOME TOWN ADVANTAGE Glanzer admits that the
this formerly fringe event by mainstream press such       found a man wearing a shirt and tie in a comic-book       convention’s burgeoning size introduces more than a
as The New York Times and CNN has now become de           store, surrounded by movie posters and toys.)             few challenges, including space issues. Recent efforts
rigueur. Executive director Fae Desmond oversees a                                                                  to expand its footprint include erecting tents outside
board of 13 people, which in turn manages about 80        HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD? If there was any                    the venue, the San Diego Convention Center, and
department heads and committee members. The               doubt that Comic-Con is now mainstream, Paris             holding additional events in hotel meeting rooms
mission of promoting comic books and other popu-          Hilton’s appearance at 2008’s gathering to promote        off site. Glanzer acknowledges that the event’s
lar art to a wider audience guides most decisions,        Repo! The Genetic Opera eliminated it. This year’s con    continual expansion raises the question of whether
which are generally made by consensus.                    also drew Keanu Reeves, Hayden Panettiere, Samuel         Comic-Con should relocate to a market that could
                                                          L. Jackson, and Jennifer Connelly, as well as a preview   better accommodate it. “We’re all from here. It’s a
HOLY GROWTH, BATMAN! The event has moved                  of Sony’s film Pineapple Express. (The boys of HBO’s       beautiful city and a great vacation destination,” he
numerous times to accommodate its growing                 Entourage even paid a visit last season; Glanzer and      says. “No one wants to move.” —Mimi O’Connor

                                                                                                                    SETUP Stronco Show Services is incorporating

     Building a Reputation                                                                                          natural-gas-powered forklifts on site.

                                                                                                                    DECOR “Although we use the carpet just for

     Tracy Bowie is incorporating eco-friendly                                                                      IIDEX, it actually goes from the show, is cleaned,
                                                                                                                    and is used again. The carpet is not recyclable

                                                                                                                                                                             PHOTOS: JONATHAN FICKLES/GETTY IMAGES (COMIC-CON), ARASH MOALLEMI/MMPI CANADA
     practices throughout Canada’s biggest                                                                          carpet yet—that’s coming.”

     interior-design trade show.                                                                                    SIGNAGE Banners are recycled from year to year.

                             As vice president of           the Association of Registered Designers of On-          CATERING “The caterer at the Direct Energy Cen-
                             IIDEX/NeoCon Canada,           tario (ARIDO), which owns IIDEX, Bowie and her          tre is Centerplate, and they recycle all of the food
                             Tracy Bowie is respon-         team are making the show more sustainable               waste not suitable for food banks. They use recy-
                             sible for planning the         by using green suppliers and contractors. Here’s        clable cups and plates … or we use real dishes.”
                             organization’s an-             a look at the plans for all aspects of the 2008
                             nual exposition and            show on September 25 and 26 at the Direct En-           CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS All leftover con-
                             conference for interior        ergy Centre in Toronto:                                 struction materials at the end of the show are
                             designers, architects,                                                                 donated to Habitat for Humanity.
                             and real estate develop-       PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS “Our letterhead
                             ers. Now in its 24th year,     paper, our business cards, and our brochures are        SHOW CONTENT “ARIDO had a drive for the
                             the event attracts more        all printed on Forest Stewardship Council paper         industry to bring their old jeans to the show, and
                             than 15,000 attendees          [from logging operations that have met strict           Habitat for Humanity came up with a concept
                             and 400 exhibits—more          standards]. The expense was a little bit more           where the jeans could be used for insulation in
     than half of which offer green products—and            at first, but we made the decision to do that            housing.” IIDEX also put together exhibits show-
     features 120-plus seminars. In conjunction with        because we felt it was important.”                      casing new materials and trends. —Susan O’Neill

72 winter 2008-09
Photo Credit: Jai Girard

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A selection of resources from our comprehensive online directory of event and meeting suppliers and venues


                                                                                                                                            encrusted bar, a slate fireplace, and seating for 70. The second
                                                                                                                                            floor, which can be used as a private space for 50, features wrap-
                                                                                                                                            around bench seating, a second wood-burning fireplace, and a
                                                                                                                                            full-service bar. The menu includes juiced-up comfort food.
                                                                                                                                            (2109 West Chicago Ave., 773.772.0406)
                                                                                                                                            O’SHAUGHNESSY’S PUBLIC HOUSE
                                                                                                                                            England native Michael Finan opened this pub in the historic
                                                                                                                                            Prickard China building in April to pay homage to his Irish
 Compiled by Jenny Berg, Jennifer Marino & Wendy Wollenberg                                                                                 roots. O’Shaughnessy’s features stained glass from Ireland,
                                                                                                                                            serves Guinness and Irish whiskey, and offers traditional eats
                                                                                                                                            like steak-and-kidney pie. The main area, with a wraparound
 BARS, LOUNGES & CLUBS                                               seat 50 stadium-style. Eateries will include an Italian restau-        wood bar, high tables, and booths, seats 160. Two private rooms
 ANGELS & KINGS                                                      rant seating 130, a contemporary American restaurant seating           hold 75 each. (4557 North Ravenswood Ave., 773.944.9896)
 Backed by Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz and partners such         110, and a rooftop lounge serving small plates. There will also be     PERENNIAL
 as blogger Perez Hilton, Angels & Kings is the second outpost       an on-site spa. (201 North State St., 312.467.0200)                    In June, this American bistro opened in the lobby of the Park
 of New York City’s bar of the same name. The space, which                                                                                  View Hotel. Executive chef Giuseppe Tentori, named one of
 opened in June, features a stage, a pulpit-style DJ booth spruced   MUSEUM/CULTURAL SPACE                                                  2008’s best new chefs by Food & Wine, oversees the menu. The
 up with an electric halo, vintage furniture, custom booth seat-     THE PAVILIONS AT BROOKFIELD ZOO                                        90-seat main dining room features turquoise and magenta
 ing, and quirky decorations including celebrity mug shots and       The Brookfield Zoo added four distinct outdoor event spaces,            hues. Its centerpiece is a wooden banquette that wraps around
 AK-47s designed by Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Guests can create       the Pavilions, in May. The largest pavilion, the Swan, seats 500       illuminated white birch tree trunks. A cocktail lounge with fire-
 their own mug shots in front of a black-and-white-striped wall.     or holds 750 for receptions and features roll-down siding for full     places seats 50. Across the hotel lobby, Perennial’s private event
 The space holds 150. (710 North Clark St., 312.482.8600)            climate control. The Bison and Dragonfly pavilions each hold            space, the Strand, holds 35. Perennial can hold 235, including
 BOTTOM LOUNGE                                                       300, while the Peacock holds 120. Combined, the Pavilions hold         in the Strand and on a patio that seats 60. (1800 North Lincoln
 The Bottom Lounge—a rock bar once situated under CTA tracks         2,000. (3300 Golf Road, Brookfield, 708.688.8000)                       Ave., 312.981.7070)
 that forced the bar into closure during CTA repairs—got a new                                                                              PICCOLO SOGNO
 home in early June: a 20,000-square-foot bilevel space with         RESTAURANTS                                                            This River West Italian restaurant, which overtook the former
 three rooms in the meatpacking district. The upstairs space         C-HOUSE                                                                Thyme space in July, is decked with Italian fixtures including
 holds around 500 and has a balcony. Dark walls feature original     In May, chef Marcus Samuelsson and Townhouse Restaurant                terrazzo floors, Venetian plaster walls, Murano glass chande-
 artwork by musicians. (1375 West Lake St., 312.666.6775)            Group opened C-House on the ground level of the newly reno-            liers, and Italian marble atop the 1930s Art Deco-style bar. The
 CLUB ROYALE                                                         vated Affinia Chicago hotel. The modern seafood house is Sam-           77-seat main dining room has an antipasti table and a wood-
 This restaurant and lounge opened in the West Loop in July. The     uelsson’s first Chicago venture. Its minimalist interior is dressed     burning oven; a private wine room seats 32. A patio seats 120
 3,000-square-foot space is filled with dark woods, amber resin,      up with nautical photographs. When combined, the main din-             during the warmer months, and the owners plan to enclose and
 and backlit onyx walls covered in ghostly branch patterns.          ing room, bar, and lounge seat approximately 85. There’s also a        heat a section of it for outdoor dining this winter. (464 North
 Executive chef Andre Christopher, previously of Japonais and        patio that seats 24, giving the entire space a capacity of 130. (166   Halsted St., 312.421.0077)
 Pops for Champagne, has created a menu he describes as “west-       East Superior St., 312.523.0923)                                       SHOCHU
 ern Japanese.” Though seating is available in oversize brown        DUCHAMP                                                                This venue, Chicago’s first lounge devoted to the Japanese
 leather banquettes, the space is more suitable for receptions       The former Meritage Café in Bucktown got a makeover and re-            liquor shochu, opened in April. Run by Lynne Wallack and John
 and holds 245. (205 North Peoria St., 312.666.9400)                 opened as Duchamp in July. The interior, illuminated by cove           Handler, the duo behind contemporary American restaurant
 LOFT SIX TEN                                                        lighting, uses rustic materials like warm walnut and reclaimed         Deleece, this lounge slings cocktails with the eponymous booze
 No Chance Productions, the team that owns Goodbar, opened           textiles. A private dining room seats as many as 35 at a com-          (think shochu mimosas) and Asian-influenced American small
 this club in June. The bilevel space holds 400: The first floor,      munal table and offers a private bar and bathroom, as well as          plates, like skirt steak with miso garlic puree and kimchi. (3313
 with a 50-foot vaulted ceiling supporting a custom-designed         patio access. The entire restaurant holds 180. Audio and video         North Clark St., 773.348.3313)
 chandelier, holds 200, as does the mezzanine. The outdoor side-     capabilities are available, and the menu features contemporary         TAPAS LAS RAMBLAS
 walk café holds 100. (1332 North Milwaukee Ave., 773.851.4212)      American dishes. (2118 North Damen Ave., 773.235.6434)                 This tapas spot opened in Andersonville in August, bringing
 REBEL BAR & GRILL                                                   GRAHAM ELLIOT                                                          Barcelona-inspired decor to the space formerly occupied by
 This bilevel lounge opened in March half a block from Wrigley       After a stint at Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel, chef Graham           Il Fiasco. Hanging lanterns, colorful murals, and tile mosaics
 Field. Each floor has its own sound system to accommodate a          Elliot Bowles opened this restaurant in June. Three communal           adorn the 2,500-square-foot storefront space. A private dining
 DJ, or party hosts can bring in their own iPods. A second-floor      tables surround a copper-topped bar in the front of the venue.         room filled with tables and banquettes is available for partial or
 private room holds 125, and the entire lounge seats 96 or holds     Dark wood tables and brown leather stools line a window over-          full buyout. The room seats 64 or holds 100 for receptions. (5101
 200 for receptions. Patrons can order the signature South Beach     looking Huron Street. A semiprivate space with leather ban-            North Clark St., 773.769.9700)
 mojito (with Bacardi Raz, muddled raspberries, and blackber-        quettes in the middle of the restaurant seats 60. An elevated          TEXAS DE BRAZIL
 ries) and a steak salad or a pear-and-chicken panini. (3462         chef’s table in the corner seats eight. Attached to the semipri-       This Texas-based chain brought its Brazilian steak house, chur-
 North Clark St., 773.975.2010)                                      vate room, a curtained-off wine salon seats 25. The entire res-        rascaria-style concept to the Magnificent Mile in May. With
                                                                     taurant seats 140. (217 West Huron St., 312.624.9975)                  24,000 square feet, the restaurant can easily hold upward of
 HOTELS                                                              HUB 51                                                                 500 people. In addition to the main dining room, seven private
 DANA HOTEL AND SPA                                                  Brothers Jerrod and R.J. Melman, sons of Lettuce Entertain You         rooms hold 10 to 175. The restaurant offers audiovisual equip-
 This luxury hotel opened in River North in June with 216            founder Rich Melman, opened this 10,000-square-foot bilevel            ment, flowers, and live entertainment upon request. A high-
 guest rooms on 26 floors. The Dana has a contemporary look           River North restaurant in June. The ground level seats 200 and         light is the two-story wine room, complete with “flying” wine
 with minimalist decor and natural design elements. Meeting          features exposed-brick walls, lofty ceilings, garage doors that        artists. (51 East Ohio St., 312.670.1006)
 space includes a 1,200-square-foot main room that holds 200,        open onto the street, a chandelier made of green beer bottles,         ZED451
 a boardroom that holds 14, and two conference rooms that hold       and a suspended DJ booth behind the main bar. Perched off the          Chef Bobby Varua—who’s worked with Daniel Boulud, Jean-
 10 each. Prefunction space can hold as many as 300. Also on         main dining area, the elevated greenroom has its own bar and           Georges Vongerichten, Charlie Palmer, and David Burke—
 site is Ajasteak—an Asian steak house and sushi bar that seats      holds 40. The downstairs lounge, Sub 51, holds 99. The entire          helped usher in this novel concept where the chefs act as serv-
 110—and a spa. (660 North State St., 888.301.7952)                  restaurant seats 300. (51 West Hubbard St., 312.828.0051)              ers. Marinated meats are grilled over an open charcoal fire, and
 INTERCONTINENTAL CHICAGO O’HARE                                     MADAME TARTINE                                                         guests decide whether to pay a prix fixe or an à la carte price.
 This 560-room hotel opened in September, minutes away from          This French bistro, which opened in River North in July, special-      A first-floor wine room seats 10; the second floor can be rented
 the airport and the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. It        izes in tartines (open-face French sandwiches) but also serves         out for groups of 10 to 350; and the rooftop lounge seats 100.
 offers 53,000 square feet of meeting space, with 33 event ar-       an array of Parisian classics. Its interior channels 1960s Paris       Zed451 opened in April. (739 North Clark St., 312.266.6691)
 eas that include four grand ballrooms—each of which hold            with vintage black-and-white wallpaper and French flea mar-
 1,100 guests—and nine private boardrooms. Also on site are a        ket finds. Photos of Brigitte Bardot line the walls. An umbrella-       SPA
 Museo art gallery, a 250-seat live entertainment venue, and         topped outdoor patio seats roughly 100. Inside, a back room            BLO.DRI
 McCormick & Schmick’s and the Capital Grille restaurants.           holds 75, while the front room seats 25. The restaurant is avail-      This hair finishing salon specializing in updos and blowouts for
 (5300 North River Road, Rosemont, 847.544.5300)                     able for full buyouts. (22 East Hubbard St., 312.755.0007)             women opened in River North in September. Blo.Dri hosts pri-
 WIT HOTEL                                                           OLD OAK TAP                                                            vate events, dubbed “Blo.bashes,” for as many as 40 guests. The
 This 27-story luxury boutique hotel is slated to open in down-      This restaurant, which opened in West Town in August, has              salon works with preferred caterers to provide anything from
 town’s theater district in May 2009. The Director’s Cut Theater     a 1,500-square-foot beer garden (the largest in the neighbor-          gourmet pizza and wine to passed hors d’oeuvres and cham-
 will feature digital projection, recording-studio sound fidelity,    hood). The bilevel eatery is adorned with natural materials and        pagne. All Blo.bash guests receive product-filled gift bags. (408
 3-D capabilities, and reclining chairs. The Ultimate Sky Box will   warm earth tones. The first floor features a 30-foot river-rock-         North Clark St., 312.595.3000)

                                                                                                                                         winter 2008-09 75
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                                                                                                                                                                               Other Furniture
 ABOUT THIS DIRECTORY                                       reviewed the directory for errors, we trusted that the    Other Furniture lncludes couches, lounges, coffee

                                                                                                                                                                               Large Props
 We looked specifically for companies that rent decor-       information given was accurate. Some companies            tables, etc.
 related items including props, tabletop items, and         declined to answer some questions, and others didn’t      Small Decor ltems lncludes candles, votives, and other
 furniture in the Chicago area, and that are based here     respond in time for publication.                           Year      Square
 Company/Web Site                                         Address                                    Phone            tabletop decor.
                                                                                                                       Estab. Footage        Specialty
 or have offices here. This directory does not include       WHAT THE DATA MEAN
 companies that focus only on items such as electrical                                                                Large Props lncludes screens, birdcages, games, etc.
                                                            Square Footage The combined total square footage of
 equipment, costumes, flooring, portable restrooms,          the company’s showrooms located in the Chicago area.      Tablecloths/Linens Also includes chair cushions or       Rental Categories
 carpeting, tents, or musical instruments. However, you                                                               chair covers.
 can find all those companies in our complete directory      Tabletop Rentals lncludes china, flatware, barware,
 on                                            and glassware.                                            Cooking Equipment lncludes concession carts,
                                                                                                                      burners, grills, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                               Cooking Equipment
                                                            Servingware lncludes serving pieces, trays or platters,


                                                                                                                                                                               Small Decor ltems
                                                                                                                                                                               Tabletop Rentals
                                                            food or coffee service equipment, and chafing dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                               Other Furniture
 Our researchers gathered this data from the                                                                          Did we miss your company or a company you work with?

 companies themselves. Although our editors have            Tables/Chairs lncludes all types of tables and chairs.

                                                                                                                      Let us know: Send an email to

                                                                                                                                                                               Large Props
                                                                                                                       Year      Square
  Company/Web Site                                        Address                                    Phone             Estab.    Footage      Specialty
  AAA RENTAL                                              3020 West 167th St.                        708.210.1200      1927      N.A.         Games, concession carts,                                       Markham, lL 60428                                                                   inflatables
  AA RENTAL CENTER                                        30 North Ninth Ave.                        708.343.8110      1968      N.A.                                  Melrose Park, IL 60160
  A-AWESOME AMUSEMENTS                                    825 East Roosevelt Road                    630.953.2866      1984      5,600        Games, concession carts,                               Lombard, IL 60149                                                                   inflatables
  ABBI INC.                                               444 East Roosevelt Road, Suite 208         630.953.2554      2004      N.A.         Chair covers                                    Lombard, IL 60148
  ABBOTT PARTY RENTAL                                     925 East St. Charles Road                  877.956.3600      1991      2,000                               Lombard, IL 60148
  ACE RENTAL                                              2075 Larkin Ave.                           847.697.7368      N.A.      N.A.         Games, concession carts,                                       Elgin, IL 60123                                                                     inflatables
  AFFORDABLE PARTY TENT RENTALS                           St. Charles, IL 60175                      630.587.2955      N.A.      N.A.
  ALL TENT RENTALS                                        Elmhurst, IL 60126                         630.333.7866      N.A.      N.A.         Games
  A MOON JUMP 4-U                                         5109 West Lake St.                         630.833.4386      2001      8,500        Games, concession carts,                                     Melrose Park, IL 60160                                                              inflatables
  A TO B RENTALS                                          435 North Wolcott Ave.                     312.492.8411      N.A.      6,000                                     Chicago, IL 60622
  A TO Z TENT RENTAL                                      17 West 531 Roosevelt Road                 630.627.2690      1972      N.A.                                        Oak Brook Terrace, IL 60181
  B&B CHAIR COVERS                                        4020 North Milwaukee Ave.                  312.593.7225      N.A.      N.A.                                   Chicago, IL 60641
  BBJ LINEN                                               7855 Gross Point Road                      847.329.8400      1983      N.A.                                        Skokie, IL 60077
  BIG TOP TENT & PARTY RENTALS                            3764 Blackstone Ave.                       847. 336.9199     1979      1,200                                   Gurnee, IL 60031
  CELEBRATION AUTHORITY                                   220 South Shaddle Ave.                     847.566.3006      1991      5,000        Games, concession carts,                            Mundelein, IL 60060                                                                 inflatables
  CHAIR COVERS BY SYLWIA                                  8200 South Archer Ave.                     708.294.5200      N.A.      N.A.                             Willow Springs, IL 60480
  CLASSIC PARTY RENTALS                                   9480 West 55th St.                         800.322.5868      N.A.      850                         McCook, IL 60525
  CLOTH CONNECTION                                        758 North Larrabee St., #634               312.329.9091      1982      N.A.                                 Chicago, IL 60610
  CORT EVENT FURNISHINGS                                  2725 Davey Road, Suite 200                 630.972.0146      N.A.      40,000       Contemporary furnishings                                       Chicago, IL 60517
  ELEGANT PRESENTATIONS                                   1760 Britannia Drive, Suite 3              847.741.2877      2000      N.A.         Chair covers                              Elgin, IL 60124
  ELITE CHAIR COVERS                                      7615 West 100th Place                      708.828.3380      2000      N.A.                                Bridgeview, IL 60455
  EVENT CREATIVE                                          311 West Walton St.                        312.327.0111      2003      30,000       Custom furniture                                   Chicago, IL 60610
  THE FUN ONES                                            831 South Rohlwing Road                    630.495.3200      2002      N.A.         Games, concession carts,                                      Addison, IL 60101                                                                   inflatables, casino tables
  FUN SERVICES                                            9800 Industrial Drive                      800.511.4386      1992      N.A.         Games, concession carts,                                   Bridgeview, IL 60455                                                                inflatables
  GALA EVENTS                                             150 North Main St.                         815.477.8888      1993      N.A.                                   Crystal Lake, IL 60014
  HALL’S RENTAL SERVICE INC.                              6130 West Howard St.                       847.929.2222      1958      1,200                                     Niles, IL 60714
  HOUSE OF RENTAL                                         5115 Church St.                            847.677.2010      1969      800          Games, concession carts,                                   Skokie, IL 60077                                                                    inflatables, theme items
  INDESTRUCTO RENTAL COMPANY INC.                         1500 Birchwood Ave.                        847.375.8510      1984      800                             Des Plaines, IL 60018
  JK RENTALS                                              625 Trading Post Lane, P.O. Box 467        800.558.3687      N.A.      N.A.                                       Kewaskum, WI 53040

76 winter 2008-09
                                                                                                                                           Rental Categories

                                                                                                                                           Cooking Equipment
                                                                                                                                           Small Decor Items
                                                                                                                                           Tabletop Rentals

                                                                                                                                           Other Furniture

                                                                                                                                           Large Props
                                                                                      Year     Square
Company/Web Site                    Address                            Phone          Estab.   Footage   Specialty
KARL’S EVENT RENTAL                 7000 South 10th St.                414.831.7069   1966     N.A.                       Oak Creek, Wl 53154
M&M THE SPECIAL EVENTS COMPANY      493 Mission St.                    630.871.9999   1982     100,000   Convention and meeting             Carol Stream, lL 60188                                               equipment
MCS EXPO                            35 North Garden Ave.               630.351.3976   1986     N.A.      Trade show equipment                     Roselle, lL 60172
MD DECOR CHAIR COVERS               440 East Montrose Ave.             773.407.0818   2000     N.A.          Wood Dale, lL 60191
MUTUAL’S RENTAL PLACE               1393 Half Day Road                 847.432.0026   1992     1,700     Games, concession carts,          Highland Park, lL 60035                                              inflatables
PARTY CENTRAL                       66 Stratford Drive                 800.584.3869   1988     N.A.                Bloomingdale, lL 60108
THE PARTY PLACE                     10540 South Harlem Ave.            708.599.2710   1980     N.A.      Palos Hills, lL 60465
RENT RITE                           1260 East Higgins Road             847.640.8860   1997     800             Elk Grove Village, lL 60007
ROOSEVELT CHAIR & PARTY RENTAL      3647 South Washtenaw Ave.          773.650.9010   N.A.     N.A.   Chicago, lL 60632
ROYAL CHAIR COVERS                                                     630.788.3893   N.A.     N.A.
SAVAGE ENTERTAINMENT INC.           50 North Western Ave.              847.426.4700   1985     N.A.      Games, concession carts,         Carpentersville, lL 60110                                            inflatables, rock-climbing walls
TABLESCAPES PARTY RENTALS           1827 West Hubbard St.              312.733.9700   1989     5,000                 Chicago, lL 60622
TABLETOPPERS INC.                   1161 South Northpoint Blvd.        847.473.2200   N.A.     N.A.      Theme linens             Waukegan, lL 60085
TEAT PARTY RENTALS                  295 Crandon Ave.                   708.862.4662   2004     N.A.            Calumet City, lL 60409
TWILIGHT PARTY RENTALS              9100 West Plainfield Road, Unit C   708.447.9558   2004     N.A.        Brookfield, lL 60513
Create a
Great Event
on a Private Shoreline Charter!
  Professionally planned events for 50 to 250 guests
           aboard one of our four vessels.

312-373-7255 ·
TED KRUCKEL                                                                                                     Where Ted’s Been

Lights! Camera!
Lights Again!                                                                                                   Sadly, the Japanese plastic teddy bears in
Tips for creating memorable lighting—and                                                                        the Fendi booth at the Hampton Classic
                                                                                                                were not for sale.
dealing with the eccentric crew installing it.
THERE ARE TWO tells that indicate you are at            have a ponytail, or worse, an earring display. They
an important photo shoot. One is if the caterers        do not agree that a peachy up-wash on the ivory
hand out little printed menus at 11:15 a.m., and        entry walkway will make everyone look good.
the other is if the lighting crew has a three-axle      Against your better judgment, they will convince
vehicle. What is it with these lighting people and      you to try something new, like green eye-level
their giant black boxes?                                spots. (Remember that Roberto Cavalli party at
    Few areas of event management are more              the Met? Artiste.) Sometimes they’ll have brilliant
crucial and more perplexing than the world of           ideas, and sometimes you’ll get fired because the
professional lighting. The lighting guys like it that   budget goes over by $30,000 for this swirl effect
way. The more complex and impenetrable their            that nobody notices.
field, the more they can charge, surcharge, and
overcharge you.                                         LIGHTING DOS AND DON’TS
                                                             Do hire Bentley Meeker. He’ll get the job          I loved the tangerine-dream tents by
LIGHTING LINGO To start with, they have their           done, behave himself with your clients, and gar-        Antony Todd at the Parrish Art Museum
own jargon. There’s Intellabeams, lights that allow     ner your affair an extra press mention due to his       Gala in Southampton.
you to pre-program the point, size, and type of illu-   determined publicity efforts.
mination. (Although be warned: The Intellabeams              Don’t use rope lighting unless it is somewhere
are only as intelligent as the person programming       that the rope can never be seen, which hardly ever
them). They have floorcans (spotlights that sit on       seems to be the case.
the floor) and parcans (spotlights that go some-              Do put your finger on the gels yourself to see if

                                                                                                                                                             PHOTOS: CHRIS ARNOLD (HAMPTON CLASSIC), BLANCHE WILLIAMSON (PARRISH ART MUSEUM GALA), RICHARD LEWIN (DUTESCO)
place else). Do you want your barndoors (light          they are getting too hot—which they often do, fol-
shutters) open or closed? Warm (fuzzy) or sharp?        lowed by melting, smoking, and who knows what.
A followspot—my favorite, an old-fashioned giant             Don’t ever agree to eye-level green lighting.
spotlight on a dolly with an operator who follows            Do experiment with all the house lights your-
the action with, guess what, the spotlight. (Of         self before spending a single lighting dollar. So
course, because it is manual, old-fashioned, and        much more can be done with existing lighting at
effective, no one ever wants you to use one.) In        events, but lighting guys don’t get paid big bucks
the old days, the big thing was rear projection         to change lightbulbs in existing fixtures.
versus front projection. Today it is all about LCD.          Don’t let your lighting guys have their own con-
But there is still keystoning to blame when your        trol booth or van. Make them sit right next to you.     Robert Dutesco’s photo projected on a
client complains that they look fat on screen (even          Do make sure your client understands if you        30-foot scrim at the Longhouse Reserve
though the real reason is that the techies failed to    are on a union lighting project, and that you have      in East Hampton was the summer’s
do the math, or at least warn you that your projec-     basically given the crew an ATM card for your           visual high point.
tion surface had a display ratio problem).              account.
                                                             Don’t ask why a “simple lighting adjustment”
LIGHTING GUYS Of course they’re not all guys.           is going to take an hour, or it will take three.
One of the best is Liz Garvin of Robert Isabell, who         Do bring a mini- flashlight when you are set-
is very much a lady and a pro. But for some reason,     ting up for an event. For some reason, all lighting
I always refer to them as the lighting guys.            people like to work completely in the dark.
     There are different kinds. The first are the bad         Don’t forget to insist that all lighting be done
lighting guys. Usually in a union, they’ll tell you     the night before. Be prepared to stay up all night,
that this is the best you are going to get. That is,    frustrated, worried, and angry, but at least know-
until you talk to their boss; then they snarl at you    ing that the biggest headache is behind you.
for the rest of the event.                                   Do take all the credit if the lighting turns out
     Then there are the artistes. These guys are        great. It is the most important visual element, and     The Hampton Classic Horse Show has
                                                                                                                grown so big I felt like an ant.
good at their job, and consider it an art. They may     you earned it.

80 winter 2008-09

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