Archive for 2014

Ai on Alcatraz: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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Akcatraz

From a hill in San Francisco, Alcatraz doesn’t look like a cerebral place. The famed, now-defunct prison blends seamlessly into the tan rock bobbing in the middle of the Bay and gives off a faint aura of mob-era menace and Nicholas Cage’s glory days. In a city filled with ever-evolving street art, a vibrant contemporary gallery scene and internationally renowned museums, one of the last places you would look for a groundbreaking art show would be in the middle of the water.

And yet, the confluence of Alcatraz’s history, dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and San Francisco’s own FOR-SITE Foundation seemed to be a perfect mix. When Cheryl Haines, the Executive Director of FOR-SITE Foundation, approached the artist with the idea for the show, Ai was restricted from leaving China since his passport was revoked in 2011. His work, specifically created for exhibit within the famed prison, was developed in his Beijing studio using spatial plans provided to him from the FOR-SITE Foundation staff and then recreated remotely in California using the artist’s exacting directions.

Ai is an ideal artist to feature in a place like Alcatraz, and FOR-SITE is theoretically an ideal group to help make that show a reality. FOR-SITE describes itself as dedicated “to the creation, understanding and presentation of art about place,” and ideally used their resources to marry the work of an artist particularly concerned with social justice and human rights with a location particularly rich in matters of justice and activism. Four rooms in the prison are dedicated to exhibits; one large gallery spread with LEGO portraits of significant human rights activists was particularly moving.  The exhibit, titled ‘@Large’, is open through April 26, 2015.

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Written by Caitlin Buggy
Caitlin Buggy

December 2nd, 2014 at 9:27 am

Smirnoff Ice Wraps Up “Ladies with Game” Series

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Ladies With Game2

Football season may have started September 4th, but the real fun kicked off when Smirnoff Ice launched the Ladies with Game Tailgate tour in NYC. Hudson Mercantile played host to a packed tailgate bash, where attendees enjoyed cocktails made from the Smirnoff Ice portfolio, including the Screwdriver Sangria and the Preparada, a Southwestern favorite made from fresh fruits, chamoy (a popular condiment in Mexican cuisine), and Smirnoff Ice Green Apple. Of course, it wouldn’t be a tailgate without the right bites, and there was no shortage of sliders, mac and cheese, buffalo tater tots, and chicken and waffle bites.

DJ Stef Nava provided high energy tunes as guests challenged each other to corn hole, giant Jenga and a backyard tire football toss competition. For those not ready to get their heels dirty, DryBar provided blowouts and Ami V and Ria Lopez gave custom manicures to prepare them for their photo booth session. Everyone knows that a tailgate is nothing without a proper host to make everyone feel at home, so singer and reality TV personality Jessie James Decker was in attendance to lead the festivities and show off her impressive arm in the football toss challenge. It appears she’s been practicing in the backyard with her husband.

Smirnoff Ice also brought the tailgate party tour to fans across the country over the past two months with help from other celebrity hosts like Keshia Knight Pulliam, Charissa Thompson, Jennifer Hale, and Lindsay Gladden. Nail Taxi also helped to provide manicures throughout the tour while attendees danced to beats from DJ Eskada in DC, DJ Rasyrious in Atlanta and Nashville, DJ Lezlee in San Diego, DJ Beverly Skillz in New Orleans, and DJ K Stonez in Charlotte. Guests were able to come away from each event with a great new look, fun memories with friends, and some great food and drink ideas to host tailgate parties of their own throughout football season.

Be sure to catch up on all the #LadiesWithGame activity on Instagram and Twitter.

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MOXY Gives Artists a Blank Canvas

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MKTG INC London recently traveled to Milan, Italy, for the opening of the first ever Moxy Hotel – a new lifestyle, design-led economy hotel brand from the Marriott group.

The launch event marked the crescendo of ‘Blank Canvas‘ – a six-month campaign designed and produced by MKTG INC that positioned the brand as a supporter of young mural artists to help it engage with its target millennial audience.

Over the past six months, more than 300 mural artists globally entered works of art inspired by Moxy. Three finalists were chosen by a panel of judges, including the editors of our media partners Street Art News and Global Street Art.

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More than 150 travel media, bloggers and influencers from across Europe attended the event, which was hosted by MTV presenter and top model Laura Hayden and Redbull DJ Stefy Oyadi. The launch climaxed with the Blank Canvas contest finale, in which the artists created a live piece of artwork in just 60 minutes in front of the party crowd.

The winner, Nune Kerobyan, won €3,000 and the opportunity to contribute to the design of future Moxy locations throughout Europe.

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Getting Down to BIZBASH with David Adler (Part 2)

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Photo Courtesy of BizBashIn Part 2 of our Q&A with BizBash founder David Adler, we talk about the future of event marketing and he identifies 2014’s biggest industry innovations.

What are the 3 most innovative events you’ve seen this year?
The most impressive thing I’ve seen this year was the coat check line at the opening media party for the Super Bowl. It was a freezing cold night and thousands of execs were gathered at Chelsea Piers. The company coatchex.com used texting and QR codes as coat-check tickets — you took a picture of your code, then your phone number became your ticket number; this made the experience of retrieving your coat actually fun. As I was going to get my jacket, I got a text saying that my coat would be ready for me. It was one of those new ideas that gave me goosebumps.

I also liked the Summit Series, a conference started by a group of innovators who bought a mountaintop resort, turning it into a $100 million real estate deal. The event itself was a gateway into relationships that changed the world. Attendees interacted with everyone from astronauts to politicians to Internet billionaires. They also created the world’s largest collaborative dinner by hiking people into the mountains and creating a table for 1,000 people.

C2 Montreal has also been a game-changer. People who attend feel like they’re entering a whole new role of collaboration that invigorates, inspires and creates lasting relationships.

Some brands that we think are really capturing the power of the event are outlined in our Top 10 Innovative Brands of 2014 story.

How has the growth of mobile technology affected your business?
Mobile has been one of the most important developments in events. That, along with responsive design, has changed the game. Event professionals want to hold the world in their pocket, and the concept of photo sharing has changed events—because ROI can now be judged not by the people in the room, but by the application of those people.

I’m reminded of the book The Mobile Wave, which talks about going up to a tombstone, holding up your phone, and having augmented reality show every video and article about that person. Imagine doing that in a live room just by wearing Google Glass or another device.

What do you envision to be the next trend or industry shift?
An empowered attendee is the next big thing. With new technology, we are seeing more power in the hands of the attendee. Now, the attendee needs to know how to be a great guest, and use it. They need to interact with other people to get the most out of the event, and they really have to want to be there.

Previously, I was the VP of corporate communications for major companies and spent hours preparing CEOs for events. We would collect guest bios and provide strategies on how to get what we wanted from them. Now with the advent of things like event apps, attendees have more power than ever, and can use the tools created by organizers to enhance their experience.

Youve said that one of your interests is using events as a philanthropic tool. What does that mean to you?
I believe in the concept of managed serendipity. Get the right people in the room, inspire them, show them how other people are using collaboration, and people will get on board to help your cause. There’s nothing like face-to-face events to motivate people. In Simon Sinek’s TED-talk, he says great leaders don’t have plans, they have dreams. He also says that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you are doing it. Events are a natural gathering place for people who want to follow their hearts, rub elbows and share experiences.

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Live from Atlanta, It’s psLIVE

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Photo courtesy of psLIVE

As you’ve probably heard, MKTG INC was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network this fall. With this exciting development comes the great news that psLIVE, another Dentsu agency, and MKTG INC are now in the same happy agency family. Here’s a note from our new friends in Atlanta:

“With the recent addition of MKTG INC to the Dentsu Aegis Network family, we here in Atlanta are looking forward to working with a great, innovative group. And you then must be wondering – what is with those guys in Atlanta? Who are they? What is their office like? Does it smell like Chick-Fil-A?

Well first, psLIVE is made up of brand strategists, creatives, producers and innovators with a passion for doing things different in order to deliver a better live brand experience. And to be honest, that pretty much describes every one of us. We are a small group of around 60, so each of us wear a lot of hats. We’re all creatives who find ways to do things differently for our clients. At the same time, we’re all producers with frontline field experience. Whether behind the desk or behind the pallet jack, we love every step of the process, from start to finish.

Part of the reason we’re so hands-on is that we have the privilege of having our office attached to our warehouse of truss, trucks and toys. Between our office, warehouse and outdoor storage of buses and trailers, we come to work every day to a 100,000-square-foot operations center. This allows us to be active with our inventory on a day-to-day basis and gives us the space to experiment and have fun. At times our warehouse has been home to inflatables, a functional bar, a helicopter, and a fully serviceable batting cage. Not to mention all of the internal events and parties we can throw in the vast space!

A few of our key clients include AT&T, ESPN, PepsiCo, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Southwest Airlines, the NFL, the USTA and ConAgra Foods. In addition to Atlanta, we have people in Norwalk and Chicago.

IMG_3235We are excited about having MKTG INC within the Network and we continue to look forward to creating and innovating together.

And yes, we are obsessed with Chick-Fil-A. It’s the best.

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MKTG INC Makes It to the Top

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promo-top-shops-headerMKTG INC is excited to announce that we’ve made PROMO’s 2015 Top Shop list.

Top Shops is a searchable directory of the Top 100 U.S. promotion agencies and is compiled by PROMO’s editorial staff.

We’re pleased to be included among such great company! See the full list here.

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Written by Katie Kirby
Katie Kirby

October 31st, 2014 at 11:47 am

What’s in Your Wallet?

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Have you looked at your business card recently? If not you should. MKTG INC’s cards are known for their unique perspective and purpose (the latter being expressly to embarrass their bearer, natch). In our new column, we take a look at the business cards of our coworkers and hear the stories behind them. Here’s the story behind the business card of Kevin Collins, General Manager of MKTG INC’s Chicago office.

Kevin owns a tuxedo T-shirt.  On the back it says, ‘Drive it like you stole it.’  Other than lacking the embarrassment gene, that pretty much sums up his attitude as he works on both new business and account services.
What a quote, right? I heard this from my grandfather many years ago as I packed up my truck and drove from Chicago to San Francisco for my first job. It was perfect timing for these words – push the pedal down, all the way down, and don’t look back. So wise were those words that I tossed them on the back of a tuxedo T-shirt, softball uniform and this business card – tipping a cap to it every place I could.

Those that know me know that quotes like this are a microcosm of what you get. I like to push limits, keep things light, have fun, enjoy what I do and I never, never ever, never ever ever, think about pulling my foot up off the pedal. Because anyone that’s ever stolen car knows that the minute you slow down is the minute you get caught. Write that down.

His ability to build consensus and get everybody to pull in the same direction is another useful quality.
I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and forming new relationships. I thoroughly enjoy growing and nurturing existing relationships. I thoroughly enjoy bringing people together to successfully attack a goal.

When he’s not driving at high speeds, Kevin enjoys country music, line dancing, hand shuffleboard and all things Chicago.
Donny & Marie Osmond (as did some other people) once sang, “I’m a little bit country, I’m a little bit rock n’ roll.” I like that lyric. It helps me articulate my approach to life. I can drive at high speeds and reach destinations, but I also know now, better than ever, when to down shift and enjoy the moments – personally and professionally.

Growing a family over the past decade (wife Margot, daughter Rockey, brand-new son Dodge) has put a lot of things in perspective – the importance of maintaining my pedal-down approach with clears eyes and a full heart (#coachtaylor) and the even greater importance of balancing it with my happy places – family, friends, country music, hand shuffleboard and, of course, all things Chicago.

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“I Am the Queen of Chicago”

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Eliud Kipchoge Rita Jeptoo

The Chicago Marathon is the definition of an epic event. Television and radio commercials take place leading up to the big day, getting the city prepared and excited for the ordeal. 1.5 million — that’s right, million — spectators get out on the sidelines to cheer on strangers by their first names (which are often proudly displayed on their shirts).

To a runner, this weekend is the world. I will always hold my marathon race-days as the best days of my life. If you really think about it, you’re a celebrity for a day. Streets in 29 different Chicago neighborhoods shut down simply to let you run through them. Strangers tailgate for hours just to cheer you on while they enjoy a good bloody mary. The entire city is asking questions like, “What are you doing for Marathon?” As a runner, you get to say, “I’m running it,” and enjoy all the #respect that comes with that declaration.

Last weekend marked the first in 2 years that I was not lining up with 45,000 other runners getting ready to #OwnChicago. It was a rather bittersweet experience, though it did allow me to experience a part of the race I had not yet seen: the elite runners.

This year, I watched from the sidelines at Mile 24, the mile I remember as being the first moment you truly know you’re almost done. You’re running in the direction of the finish line, you can vaguely see your last turn, and even at your absolute slowest run you don’t have more than 12 minutes left. This mile means so much more to the elite runners. This is the moment of truth. This is after the runners kick up their speed for that last drive. You can feel their passion as they fly passed. I quickly realized I couldn’t even sprint at their marathon pace.

I watched as the fastest men passed, knowing that it would be close as they all picked up their speed moving toward the finish line. Eliud Kipchoge ultimately took first place. Kipchoge missed a personal best by just 6 seconds, and it was his fourth time finishing under 2:06. The only other three men who have met this milestone have been the fastest men in the world at some point in their career. As Kipchoge passed the finish line, we saw the first woman elite runner, Rita Jeptoo, pass by our cheer-station. She was amazing, fearlessly running towards the finish line. Jeptoo went on to finish as the woman champion of the 2014 Chicago Marathon. She is one of 6 women in the world to win the Chicago Marathon two consecutive years.

Jeptoo’s quote of the day, according to ESPN, is “I am the Queen of Chicago.” That she was, and hopefully every other person passing the finish line felt overwhelmed with a similar sensation. As far as I’m concerned, those finishers, elite and otherwise, do #OwnChicago and, even for a mere moment, they’re Chi-Royalty.

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Written by Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle
Mary Kate Pleggenkuhle

October 17th, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Using RFID to Improve the Customer Experience

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Photo courtesy of Tomorrowland.com

Today, RFID technology is so much more than an IPass or a race-timer. The technology has changed the way big corporations such as Wal-Mart handle their supply chain management, the way retail stores prevent shoplifting, and the way experiential marketers make use of their spaces. Here are a few ways events are utilizing RFID technology to improve experiences:

Tomorrowland Music Festival:
This Belgium music festival took to the wristband trend over the traditional admission ticket. When guests received their wristbands in the mail they could register their band to connect with their Facebook page. During the course of the two-weekend event, if any two guests pressed the button on their wristband at the same time while they were close to one another, the other person’s Facebook info would be shared via email. Every day that the guest attended the festival, they received an email of all the people they met that day.

Photo courtesy of TasteofToronto.com

Photo courtesy of TasteofToronto.com

Taste of Toronto:
The Taste of Toronto used RFID a little differently than just an admission ticket. They said goodbye to the dated ticket method for paying for food and drinks and instead provided each attendee with an RFID card. The guests could load money on the card and use it to pay for all food and drinks at the event. At the end of the day, if there was money left over on the card it was donated to Second Harvest Food Rescue.

C2MTL:
C2MTL, the Commerce and Creativity conference in Montreal, used UHF tags (similar to RFID but functions from as far away as 30 feet) to help staff the event. The tags were on each badge of the guests and the chandeliers were UHF-enabled to receive information from the guests’ badges. Producers knew when people entered the building and passed security successfully, and they also knew when to add extra staff to popular food stations.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival:
Bonnaroo draws thousands of guests to Tennessee each June. Guests registered their RFID wristbands online before attending the event, and in Bonnaroo’s partnering with Microsoft, linked them with a Microsoft OneDrive account. Every time the guest visited a photobooth or viewed a performance, they could scan their RFID band and have photos sent and saved to their account.

Checkout more smart uses of RFID in the BizBash article “6 Events Using R.F.I.D. Technology to Improve the Guest Experience.”

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Not Your Grandfather’s Gin: Tanqueray Raises the Bar

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Zacappa 1Photos by Kelly Puleio

The Tanqueray Green Room is back and better than ever. This event series invites owners, bartenders and servers to spend three days enriching themselves with new techniques, category expertise and leadership philosophy. The goal of the Green Room is to not only educate guests about gin and Tanqueray, but to leave them inspired and energized to raise their game, either behind the bar or in leading a team. Green Room 3.0 launched in San Francisco on September 22-24, and each day was filled with bartenders eager to learn and get their hands wet behind the custom bars.

On Day 1, Sean Finter was welcomed back to the program by a large group of bar owners and managers. During this seminar, Sean broke down the guest experience into touch points and set out a simple system for turning casual consumers into ardent fans, and managers into leaders. Each year, Sean’s lecture continues to draws a larger crowd.

On Day 2, National Brand Ambassador Rachel Ford led the morning session that was geared toward servers and aimed to turn order takers into order makers. Rachel shared her own experiences of good and bad service, and broke down how to be the best at your job. Guests walked away from this session with a better understanding of how to direct customers to an enjoyable evening, while increasing their tips.

From Old Tom to London Dry, Tanqueray sets the standards for gin. During the afternoon session on Day 2, Global Ambassador Emeritus Angus Winchester spoke about the three primary gin styles and their respective uses. Angus used this session to not only educate bartenders on gin, but to reinforce that hospitality is a significant part of the job. Bartenders also had the opportunity to create their take on a modern classic cocktail, using books and unique bar tools from Angus’ personal collection.

Zaccapa 2

After an extremely successful event in NYC last spring, Tanqueray brought back Hidetsugu Ueno to lead Day 3. News spread fast and the event drew a record-breaking crowd of 84 bartenders. This session focused on the nature of Japanese bartending, and his techniques on stirring, shaking and pouring. Ueno San’s presentation was so compelling that you could hear a pin drop. The event ended with numerous laughs, a great question-and-answer round, as well as numerous pictures with the world-renowned bartender.

The Green Room will visit five additional markets, starting with Dallas later this month.

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