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October 2, 2006

Are you experienced?

Hundreds of events industry people and their clients saw more than 20 awards presented for best practice in live and experiential marketing over two hours during one ceremony on Friday 22 September 2006. 

The occasion: the Event Awards.
The venue: the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
The EVENTS:review team was there to give you a flavour of the ceremony – and no we weren’t totally sober by the end of the night.
As the guests were taking their seats, each secretly hoping they’d be justifying their £200 ticket by walking away with a prize before the night was through, we asked Mike Fletcher, the editor of Event magazine, which runs the awards, what the aim of the event was.
The medium of choice

“Essentially, the Event Awards celebrate experiential marketing. They provide a great opportunity to get the industry together under one roof,” said Fletcher. “What’s more, as exhibitions become more experiential and live marketing becomes increasingly the medium of choice for brand planners, this event will grow in significance and importance.”
But why should companies from outside the industry that may be using or thinking about using events as part of their marketing strategies pay attention?
“This is an experiential and digital age,” continued Fletcher. “Consumers have a real thirst for experiential activity. Brand loyalty is being achieved through the live marketing industry and brand planners are sitting up and taking notice.”
The first half of the Event Awards presentation ceremony, hosted by XFM’s Richard Bacon, focused mainly on exhibitions. Media 10 dominated proceedings, with its event Grand Designs Live 2005 winning gold for Best Consumer Exhibition and Best Exhibition Feature Area for its Huf Haus element, as well as silver for Best Launch Exhibition. Other notable triumphs included Haymarket Land Events’ Cereal Event, which took gold in the Best Business Exhibition category, and London’s Olympia, which won Exhibition Venue of the Year.
First time lucky?

Commenting on his agency’s winning ways, Media 10 managing director Lee Newton said: “We’re really happy. The incredible thing is that Grand Designs was our first event, having recently moved from magazines into exhibitions.”
So what did Newton think the success of Grand Designs was down to?
“I think it was because we probably spent more money on features and design than anyone else and that allowed us to charge more for entry,” he replied.
With the passing of the exhibition categories, the evening took on a decidedly more experiential feel. Once again, one organisation dominated. The surprise was that it was DNA Productions, one of the smallest companies at the awards. DNA’s showpiece was the British Red Cross Ball 2005, which won gold for Best Celebration Event and a silver for Most Effective Event Activity – FMCG/Pharmaceuticals/Health. But the agency also took another gold for Most Effective Event Activity for La Fete Noire at the 58th Cannes Film Festival for Chopard.
Other winners included Jack Morton Worldwide, which won golds for Best Conference or Marketplace Event for the Philips Summit India, and Best Outdoor/Public Event for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies. Meanwhile, LIVE’s Toyota Opening Ceremony for Saud Bahwan Group won gold for Best Outdoor/Public Event, Sledge took gold for it’s organising of the Blue Space at the O2 Wireless Festival, and TRO secured gold for Most Effective Event Activity with the KPMG Live event.
Size doesn't matter
With all specific categories out of the way, there remained just two awards: Best Overall Exhibition Activity and Best Overall Live Event Activity – the pinnacle of the evening. After announcing the awards, MC Richard Bacon handed over to Mike Fletcher to reveal the winners. First up was Media 10, taking Best Overall Exhibition Activity for Grand Designs, while DNA hoisted the Best Overall Live Event Activity trophy aloft for the British Red Cross Ball – an incredible feat for an agency with just four full-time staff.
“We feel really privileged to have won tonight,” said DNA’s chief executive Matt James, flanked by his team, while clutching his trophies. “We’re such a small company. We’ll certainly need to put up some more shelves in the office now!”
Despite reservations about the evening under-representing the experiential side of the industry, most notably from RPM’s Hugh Roberts, and the fact that the £200 price tag didn’t include free drinks after the presentations, overall the Event Awards was a celebration of everything that’s good about live marketing – and the guests celebrated by partying on until the early hours…
Soak up the sights and sounds of the Event Awards with our exclusive video snapshot of the night, which includes interviews with many of the winners – you’ll think you were there! Click here

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For a full list of winners and nominees, Click here

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