It’s Halloween, and let’s be honest… for event planners/organisers, this day could be anytime of the year. We’ve compiled 5 real event episodes to give you an inkling of how Murphy is in regular attendance at Events! And you will realise that God, too, has a hand in it!
Story1: There’s Something Not Right About the Food.
Last year, at a Mumbai city-wide event, an estimated 5,000 children had complained of food poisoning after consuming packaged meals provided by an online food ordering firm and were rushed to various hospitals across the city. The organisers of the conference said they would take legal action.
Story 2: A Storm is Brewing.
After carefully planning the details of what would surely be a successful event, the event organiser was all set to hop on a plane to the venue city when reports of a “historic” storm to hit the area blasted the media airwaves. Airlines were cancelling flights, schools were calling snow days and the city and state governments were shutting down — just two days before the event.
Story 3: Attendees Left to Rot like the Walking Dead?
In Georgia, US, just as the closing act of TomorrowWorld 2015, the music festival, came to an end, all the roads going to and from the venue were shut down; for there were heavy rains that would’ve made it unsafe to drive in
too much mud. The result, thousands of people couldn’t get in or out and were left stranded at least five miles from any transportation. They were stuck in the forest overnight, and they didn’t have food, water or shelter. A nightmare for event attendees and the planner!
The act of God has ambushed enough events; every event planner must have a backup plan.
Story 4: A for Awkward!
Jaws dropped and ribs were tickled when, much to the horror and amusement of all, La La Land, instead of Moonlight, was announced as Best Picture during the 89th Academy Awards.
How did the envelope mixup happen?
Why wasn’t the protocol followed?
Or, was it a PR stunt?
Whatever it was, it was most certainly awkward for those on the scene and behind it.
Story 5: Last-minute Vendor Cancellations
This is a common story and perhaps the biggest problem that plagues the event industry. Imagine being in charge of putting on a 2-day bridal fashion show in your city. Where you’ve sent out and received RSVPs from over 500
eminent personalities, including artists, industrialists and politicians. You’ve handpicked the perfect place after months of searching.
And then, just a week before the event, the venue vendor calls up and cancels.
Horror, horror! Imagine the mammoth follow-ups and re-invitations that follow. Which is why, it is wise to opt for event insurance or draw contracts clearly stating vendor liabilities should they suddenly back out.
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To all those who closely follow sponsorship for big sporting events such as the Indian Premier League, Pro Kabaddi League and Hockey India League, you will be interested to know that the Roman gladiatorial games were also sponsored. Read on.
The Origin of Gladiatorial Games
The Romans believed that the first gladiators were slaves who were made to fight to the death at the funeral of a distinguished aristocrat, Junius Brutus Pera, in 264 BC. This event was arranged by the heirs of the deceased to honour his memory.
In the present context, it is difficult to understand what could have motivated the Romans to watch this cruel spectacle of men fighting each other to the death; but as documented history would explain, the Roman society was not inherently sadistic. There was more to gladiatorial fights, and these fights were symbolic in nature (although there is little doubt that the mob crying for blood was little aware of the finer symbolical points).
Anyhow, over a period of time, the games lost their funerary context and were instead staged by the wealthy as a means of displaying their power and influence within the local community. There is archaeological evidence of advertisements for gladiatorial displays at Pompeii, which were painted by professional sign-writers on house-fronts, or on the walls of tombs clustered outside the city-gates. The number of gladiators to be displayed was a key attraction: the larger the figure, the more generous the sponsor was perceived to be, and the more glamorous the spectacle.
Much like in modern-day sports events, there was more to the game than just the event itself; such as the characters involved, the personal drama as well as technical skill and determination.
Who were the Sponsors?
During the early days, when the combats were held in funerary context, it was the family of the deceased who sponsored the gladiators.
Soon, public officials took charge of sponsoring them for festivals.
It’s important to note here that in Rome, entry to the games was free. It was a citizen’s right to see the games, not a luxury. So as the games drew great crowds, politicians began sponsoring gladiatorial combats as a way of pleasing the electorate. The games offered the politicians extravagantly expensive but effective opportunities for self-promotion, and gave their clients and potential voters exciting entertainment at little or no cost.
Eventually, the games grew so large in scale and expensive to stage that only the emperor could afford to sponsor them.
From a commerce perspective, Gladiators became big business for trainers and owners, for politicians on the make and those who had reached the top and wished to stay there; to the extent, there have been instances recorded in history where politically ambitious private citizens have postponed a deceased family member’s funeral ceremony to the election season, just so that a generous show might drum up votes. Not surprisingly, the anti-corruption laws of 65 and 63 BC attempted but failed to curb the political usefulness of the games to their sponsors.
What were the Sponsorship implications?
For Sponsors, Gladiators were an expensive investment; not to be dispatched lightly.
For a gladiator who died in combat, it was possible for the trainer to charge the sponsor of the fatal spectacle up to a hundred times the cost of a gladiator who survived.
Hence it was a great deal costlier for sponsors to supply the bloodshed that audiences often demanded, although if they did allow a gladiator to be slain it was seen as a sign of their generosity. Money… Name… both rode on the investment… the gladiator.
As mentioned earlier, political careers and the popularity of the sponsors depended on the success of the games. The more spectacular the games meant the more popular the sponsors were. After all, the Romans loved to be surprised. Different, exotic animals on display during gladiatorial games supplied the novelty that the Romans craved. The animals also reminded the spectators of the distant lands that had been conquered by Rome.
When it came to the final moment, whether to reprieve the defeated gladiator or consign him to the victor to be polished off, it was the prerogative of the Sponsor to decide. This decision would often be influenced by the wishes of the spectators. Mosaics from around the Roman empire depict this critical moment… when the victor is standing over his floored opponent, poised to inflict the fatal blow, his hand stayed (at least temporarily) by the umpire.
Tejshvi Jain is the Founding Director of ReReeti and an ATSA and NTICVA Fellow. She is passionate about making heritage and culture more accessible. She has been an arts writer, teacher and curator prior to setting up this non-profit organization. Team EventLinked recently had the pleasure of interviewing her and getting to know her perspective on the Events space in India.
EL: Please tell us about ReReeti & the Team behind it. TJ: ReReeti is a Bangalore based not-for-profit organization which works towards revitalizing museums and bringing them closer to and making them more relevant to people. Rereeti conducts events and workshops for museum professionals as well as schools and families to bridge the gap between museums and their audiences.
Rereeti works with museums and cultural heritage spaces to observe, evaluate and then provide multiple solutions for audiences as well as museums and staff. Our solutions include audience development, capacity-building programmes focusing on visitor outreach and engagement, digital communications strategies, exhibit interpretation, and creating educational modules for schools and families to highlight museum collections. Our blog is the first in India that specifically addresses Indian museums and Indian museum professionals and facilitates knowledge sharing in this domain.
We are a very small team. We prefer to work with experts relevant to the content of the museums we work with. This helps us in generating good content and solutions and keeping our quality standards high. We have a lot of partners with whom we work depending on the requirement of the project. This helps us also in keeping our operational costs low and focus on quality and impact.
EL: Please tell us more about the Events conducted by ReReeti. At ReReeti we realise that museums (the word here means to encompass not only museums but heritage sites and galleries as well) at their core play two roles: firstly, they act as repositories of tangible objects that manifest and best represent our history, culture and abstract ideas; secondly, they act as mediums of learning and actively engage the people they are meant to serve.
Taking this into account we organize events for three segments:
Individuals, families and schools – We curate experiences at museums that are interesting and interactive for the participants. It encourages them to look at the museum spaces more closely with renewed interest and enable them to learn about the collections in a fun way. For instance we hold treasure hunts for which the visitors have to actually go around the museums looking for specific exhibits to answer clues given on their smartphones OR in the handout. It combines the sense of mystery solving as well as discovery. We organize museum walkthroughs which are very different from the guided tours one can get in museums. They are full of interesting and funny trivia and involve the visitors in a greater manner. We also have interesting educational modules for schools and educational institutions to cater to a large number of students at the same time.
For individuals – we mentor teens interested in history, culture and heritage. Designing learning programs within museums and art galleries go beyond being a set of mere educational activities for kids. Learners get hands-on experience with reasoning and analytical skills, research and writing, photography and video, and presentation and oratory skills. This program is offered only once a year.
For museum professionals – we facilitate workshops and training programmes covering important aspects of museum management. These sessions too are interactive and highly participatory in nature. Along with sharing best practices in a given area we also collectively try to solve the challenges the participants face in the museums.
EL: How has Events, as a medium, helped your organization? TJ: Hosting Events is a great way of spreading awareness about the organization as well as the cause we support. They provide the much needed nudge to parents, individuals and children toward taking the rich cultural heritage that our museums have to provide and give them an opportunity to marvel at the wonders firsthand instead of browsing through images on the internet.
We have seen a growth in the number of people coming to museums with their children as well as children being more proactive in their wanting to know about the exhibits, their histories and creating art and content by themselves. In fact, we have also hosted birthday parties in the museums at the request of children.
EL: What are the guiding principles that you follow while planning an Event? TJ: We first consider the museums and the collection it houses. The collection dictates the content. Second, but equally important to us, is the purpose the event needs to serve. Are we trying to bring awareness, facilitate knowledge sharing or just entertainment or as is the case most of the times – it’s a combination of any two. Then we look at the kind of audience we are catering to. If it is children and families our experience would have activities that require two different age groups (adult and child). If it is for schools, then the activities need to cater to large peer groups.
EL: What are the innovative ways in which you have engaged your target audience at events? TJ: We firmly believe that learning happens only when it is flowing in both directions instead of just one (from the instructor to the student). Which is why our activities, questions and challenges are open ended with no one right answer. In cases of treasure hunt where there is one answer it is always followed by a statement that helps them to think, wonder or ponder upon.
We encourage our participants to actively engage in the games and activities and enter a creative space through writing stories, small performances, lively discussions and sharing their own take on what they have seen and learnt. We believe in always making it relevant to them and hence show them the connect with contemporary life.
EL: What are the challenges/ pain points that you face as an Event Organizer? TJ: Since we are not event organizer per say the expectations from us too are different. Our challenge areas are ironically the museums themselves. We cannot change the display and hence work with whatever is available. To create excitement within a visually dull space is our greatest challenge.
EL: Have you ever raised sponsorship or got strategic partners on board for an event? If yes, how was the process… was it simple or tedious? TJ: Yes we have a few strategic partners on board but have not actively worked with them. Getting them on board was easy but figuring out how to work and which projects to work on has taken some time.
EL: Compared to other media, such as Print, Radio, TV, Online etc., what do you like about Events? TJ: Events are more organic. They are more tangible for the attendees and give them the kind of first-hand experience that other mediums like print or radio or the web can never provide. And greater learning comes from first-hand experience of the things when the participant or visitor is right there in the middle of the museum learning and discovering things all by themselves.
EL: What changes do you wish to see in the Events space in India? TJ: Would like to see a greater involvement of the central and state governments by providing grants, sponsorships and extensive promotions to good quality events.
Logistics. It would be great if the events did not have to be restricted to the residents of the city alone. Our IMD 17 event had a large number of tourists as well who happened to be in Bangalore at the time. It would be good if such interested people could be given the experience through virtual media in case they are not able to be physically present. Using technology pre, during and post for audience engagement would take event hosting at a different level. It is presently done in small pockets.
EL: What is your message for Brands that sponsor and Event Organizers? TJ: Our message to the event organizers and brands would be to be mindful in their activities. There are limited natural resources and climate change is real and we should endeavor to work towards a sustainable future. It would be great if we could all be conscious towards the social, economic and environmental impact that our events and activities have.
EL: EventLinked is an online platform that helps Event Organizers reach out to interested Brands and raise event sponsorship money online. Listing (creating an Event Sponsorship Proposal) is free and the only fee charged to Event Organizers is 2% of the total sponsorship money raised.
What is your take on EventLinked? TJ: It’s a great concept. Usually we come across platforms which list and publicize events. Connecting brands to find the right marketing opportunity to reach out to and engage the right target audience is very effective use of resources.
EL: Would you ever consider listing an event on EventLinked? TJ: Yes
EL: What is your most memorable moment from an Event and what makes it such? TJ: There have been many. We get some valuable feedback and comments which encourage us to keep going. The common thread to all is- “they exceeded my expectations” or “it was my first time and I experienced something wonderful which I had not done before”.
Be it for increasing sales, creating brand awareness, launching products or generating leads, an increasing number of ad agencies across the world are now playing the role of strategic partners; advising clients on marketing opportunities to tap. One such ad agency is the Bahrain-based The Silver Kick Company. Team EventLinked (EL) recently had the opportunity to interview Shabana Feroze, the Founder & Managing Director.
EL: Please tell us about The Silver Kick Company. SF: The Silver Kick Company is a Bahrain-based advertising agency that helps clients plan, develop, execute and manage their marketing and social media campaigns.
Whether it’s online or offline, from printing in-store material, to media planning, event management, public relations and CSR, to digital marketing, we manage the full spectrum of marketing activities.
Brand positioning and brand image are hugely significant in today’s era of clutter and mass information. Which is why we believe in getting an in-depth feel of the brand before we formulate and deliver the right message to the target audience.
We are passionate about what we do and believe that with the right marketing and advertising, we can help a brand become more well-known in its niche, and build a strong relationship of brand loyalty with customers.
EL: What are the event-related solutions that The Silver Kick Company offers? SF: We tailor-make and manage all sorts of events for our clients. Blogger events, product launches, summer camps, team-building events, promotional events, supermarket promotions, etc., to name a few. We propose event-related solutions depending on the needs of the clients. If their marketing awareness requirements can be solved by an event, we propose it and customize it to be unique and creative for them.
EL: How is the Events industry in Bahrain? SF: It’s not as active as it can be. Lots of cultural events, seminars and workshops take place continuously, but these are organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, or by other government agencies. Commercial events are few and far in between. This may be because Bahrain is a small country and specialized event management companies are lacking here, as well as resources to do creative events are difficult to find, hence making them expensive. Most brands can be found doing small blogger events from time-to-time, but not medium to big-sized innovative events.
EL: Event collaterals aside, do you see ad agencies such as yours adopting a more critical role in advising clients on Event Strategy & Planning? Is it something that is welcomed by clients? SF: Yes, definitely. Events are a great way to get your message across to the right audience, and as an advertising agency we’d highly recommend an event if it made more sense than other Above The Line marketing and media.
EL: Compared to other media, such as Print, Radio, TV etc., what do you like about Events? SF: The best thing about events is that they can be completely customized to your needs and to your budget. And you can be as creative and innovative with an event as you want. Plus, you can invite exactly the right demographic for your product/ service.
EL: What changes do you wish to see in the Events space in Bahrain? I’d like to see more events, more unique events, and more interactive ones.
EL: What is your message for Event Organizers and Brands that sponsor? SF: Event Organizers, don’t keep repeating the same event at the same venue for the same audience. Do something different!
Sponsors, make sure your brand has relevance to the event you’re sponsoring.
EL: EventLinkedis an online platform that helps Brands choose from hundreds of detailed event sponsorship proposals and identify right marketing opportunities; ones that are budget-friendly and ensure minimum spillovers. What is your take on EventLinked? It is a very clever and useful platform for brand managers who are looking to associate with the right events.
EL: Would you consider recommending a platform such as EventLinked to your clients? Yes, for sure.
EL: What is your most memorable moment from an Event and what makes it such? One of the most memorable moments from an event was during the launch of the new Guerlain perfume, Oud Essentiel, when the spokesperson for it, Princess Esther Kamatari of Burundi, spoke to a few of us about why she loved Bahrain the minute she landed here.
Please note: the opinions expressed in this interview are those of the respondent and do not reflect the views of the company to which she is affiliated.
Sagar Podilapu is the Founder of Crikscore – an app that helps record scores of local cricket matches. Prior to Crikscore, he worked as a Software Architect at Cerner Healthcare Systems and as Head of Technology at Wheelstreet Bike rentals. He also founded an education startup called Tutoslive. Incidentally, Team EventLinked (EL) caught up with him last weekend; on the final match day of The 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.
EL: Please tell us about Crikscore. SP: Crikscore is poised to be a cricket match app designed to help players form teams, play in tournaments, book grounds, record scores and track analytics. In short, the app is all for cricket. At present, we are in beta mode capturing the leaderboards at tournaments.
EL: How has Events, as a medium, helped your app? SP: Cricket is a big ticketing event in Bangalore and there are so many tournaments being played every weekend. Our app forayed into the world of Cricket via such tournaments. Putting our learning together, we’ve made Crikscore a true event-oriented app; where people join, play, score, challenge any team or player.
EL: What are the challenges you face while attempting to make Crikscore present at preferred Events? SP: The biggest problem I see here is the discovery of tournaments. We would be happy to be in as many tournaments as possible.
EL: What are the innovative ways in which you have engaged your target audience and increased visibility for CrikScore at events? SP: At one tournament, we used a mic set. We not only announced the real-time score, but also got to recommend spectators to check more on the Crikscore app. That really helped us in getting more eyeballs to the app.
EL: Compared to other media, such as Print, Radio, TV, Online etc., what do you like about Events? SP: Events give me the opportunity to directly interact with the players and explain to them how to use the app. Radio or Print might have more reach but for now we are more into testing the market and app for any enhancements.
EL: What changes do you wish to see in the Events space in India/ Bengaluru? SP: More events have to be organised. More people should come forward to organise these cricket events and then that can help create a better cricketing community, better skills at playing cricket and more.
EL: What is your message for Sponsors and Event Organizers? SP: Crikscore can gather people to events. All we need is a better way to organize it. The better the event, the more footfalls we will have.
EL: EventLinked is an online platform that helps Brands choose from hundreds of detailed event sponsorship proposals and identify right marketing opportunities; ones that are budget-friendly and ensure minimum spillovers.
What is your take on EventLinked? SP: EventLinked helps people in discovering events and do what they like on a weekend. I see it as a good initiative for people like me who are looking for events discovery.
EL: Would you consider listing your brand on EventLinked as a potential sponsor/ event partner? SP: Of course! Currently, Crikscore is sponsoring tournaments with mic sets for announcements and Man of the Match for the final match. We will be looking to sponsor the same for such cricketing events.
EL: What is your most memorable moment from an event and what makes it such? There was a tournament at Charles Grounds and the crowd turned out real good. The matches were interesting and the crowd really liked the app. That made our day; in fact, the entire week!