Each year, and in concert with Creative Visions, a major health insurer asks its Vice Presidents to celebrate and honor the Most Valuable Performers (MVPs) in the sales, marketing and communications divisions. During the course of a single evening, top talent is recognized, the year is presented in review, business wisdom is imparted, and attendees interact with each other and management—all with an eye to the future.
The client’s key objective was to create a memorable awards evening to engage and entertain all in attendance. This two-day conference for 250 attendees is held at a downtown hotel, and typically comprised of an afternoon meeting, a community give-back volunteer event, and an evening reception and an awards dinner, culminating on the second day with breakfast and an inspirational message from the CEO.
How do you create an energetic environment to reflect the great achievements of these heroic performers? Simple: you host a super hero-themed event. Upon completion of 95 percent of the setup and just as rehearsals began, snow began to fall–and soon blanketed the roads leading to the hotel venue.
The production crew worked through the evening to tear down and re-pack the equipment, spent the night at the hotel and returned to the Creative Visions facility once the roads were safe. The event was rescheduled approximately one month later and the production scope was reduced in accordance with the availability of the hotel event space. Revisiting the production scope ensured cohesive creative design across project management, customized graphics, video projection, audio and lighting.
The client explores at least three themes for this event each year. When the superhero idea bubbled to the top, the goal was to try to tie it to the conference messaging. One that had been accomplished, the next step was to create and customize a superhero persona for each of the nine divisional vice presidents; a bit of creativity that would resonate well with the audience members. Understanding each individual and their respective line of business took a bit of consulting time to represent them in a manner that their “insiders” would definitely understand. Blue Lightning, Spitfire, The Blade and Jet Strike were a few of the original, customized characters and brought to life to complement each VP.
From a multimedia perspective, this was the first client conference where animation played a key role in the production, as well as the first where execution evolved from a PowerPoint-driven show to a media server-driven one. The content was displayed on a 10 x 30-foot blended screen; screen size and design were determined with the client’s carefully controlled budget in mind. A professional system was provided to enhance and illuminate the stage area, and intelligent lighting was utilized to create audience and stage special and fanfare effects as each award honoree was recognized.
The introduction of each team member and their super hero “alter ego” was tightly choreographed, so it was crucial that the client practice entrances–the first seven minutes of the event showcased a piece that tied video animation with live action and special effects lighting. A large part of the execution was to help these senior leaders realize that they have to be prepared and bring a bit of acting and levity to their performance. They were ready to step up their game.
Rehearsals were conducted at the client’s office, as well as at the Creative Visions production design lab. For realism, a mockup of the stage was created and the executives were able to do a walk-through with live animation. The extra preparation provided a level comfort for the executives and familiarity with the timing and stance, greatly improving the outcome of the show flow. After all, you don’t see many superheroes who aren’t confident while in public!
The introductory animated video with live action struck the perfect chord with the audience, who had a lot to discuss as they enjoyed dinner following the start of the evening. Up next were announcements and issuances of multiple award categories, each with a custom graphic displayed on the 10 x 30-foot along with music stingers and effects. The CEO made final remarks from the stage and the gala culminated with a video that tied the entire evening together.
Simply put, the customer’s internal review results rated the conference as the best of its kind. Attendees were appropriately recognized, the video and presentations were engaging and entertaining, and most of all – they had fun. Creative Visions has a simple goal for every event they produce: to ensure that the client had a “predictable event experience.” In doing so, the client acknowledged that the team had not only understood, but exceeded their vision for the event. The team is already looking forward to planning for next year—and a full two-day schedule, of course!