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Event Planning Lessons Gleaned from the Oscars

Section: Blog

The Academy Awards ceremony is back this Sunday and is celebrating its 90th anniversary. If the ceremony is anything like last year, we are in for lots of excitement. Remember last year’s major mix up, with presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announcing the wrong winner for Best Picture? While it made for great television, it was a huge embarrassment for all involved. But there are event planning lessons to be learned from this this situation, and here are just a few…

Mistakes Happen: The Academy Awards is one of the “most overly produced” annual events. It attracts the most talented and competent event planners in an industry known for producing big galas. And yet they blew the big moment. It’s a great reminder that no matter who you have planning your big event, mistakes happen. People are human. Things aren’t perfect. If you accept that premise, then you can take the steps necessary to minimize the impact of those mistakes when they occur.

Plan for the Worst: PriceWaterhouseCooper had a plan to avoid mistakes. Just days before the event, they claimed they had systems in place to ensure the right envelope ends up with the right person. Oops. When the worst happened PWC shifted into emergency mode, which was to notify a stage manager. As we all witnessed, that plan worked … sort of. At the end of the night, the right people did go home with the award, but a tremendously embarrassing path was walked to get there. Moving forward, one would assume that presenters will be comprehensively briefed on what to do if they think they may have been handed the wrong envelope.

Be Gracious: Can you imagine a moment more difficult than standing up in front of all your peers and a broadcast audience of millions, to accept an award with a heartfelt speech honoring your accomplishment — only to be told a few seconds later that you didn’t actually win? Kudos to Jordan Horowitz who went through this and emerged as a model of grace and elegance. He stepped up to the podium and graciously told the world that he hadn’t actually won. He wasn’t bitter. There were no recriminations. Instead, he gave another heartfelt speech honoring the real winning film’s accomplishment. Classy.

When things go wrong at your event, you can run away and hide. You can blame everyone else. You can cry. You can yell. Or you can be like Horowitz.

Apologize Promptly: After the big mistake of ‘17, lots of people were quick to blame the presenters. Luckily, PWC put out an apology quickly, accepting full responsibility for the mix up.

Do Your Best to Set it Right and Move On: So the unthinkable has happened. What next? Even the biggest mistakes don’t have to keep your event from accomplishing its goals. We can all learn a lot about how to handle the unexpected from this most public stumble.

Read this article in its entirety at Utah Live Bands.

Does your ad journal tell a story?

Section: Blog

Ad journal … obligatory collection of typed out messages or unique opportunity to tell your story? If your organization is like many, you are thinking of the ad journal in the former sense and thereby doing a disservice — both to your organization and your supporters — by not aligning journal ads to your mission.

When you hear the word “journal” (or program book), do you think of a tired, old print book … black Times-Roman font on a white background? We don’t blame you for feeling uninspired. We wanted more for the journal. And with all the buzz on the importance of storytelling, we were certain that many organizations were missing a valuable opportunity. That is why Event Journal developed a digital platform, which allows organizations to communicate their story through impactful visuals. In creating a journal, we ask NPO’s to share images that exemplify their mission. Then we integrate those images into the journal ads themselves. When presented at the event on large screens or iPad centerpieces, the journal engages your guests, instead of putting them to sleep. We create these custom ads as part of our standard service.

What about camera-ready ads? These ads are submitted by corporations, ready to go. You have two choices: 1) Say nothing, and most organizations will submit a generic “journal ad.” 2) Suggest organizations connect their ad to your mission, something they already have a desire to do. After all, that is why they have chosen to support your organization! Reach out personally to your sponsors and let them know what you are trying to achieve via your journal. Offer up images that can be incorporated into sponsors’ camera-ready ads. View this as an opportunity to engage with your sponsors and deepen your relationship. In turn, they will appreciate you trying to make their support more relevant and impactful.

Here are a few examples of journal ads, both Event Journal created and camera-ready ads, that truly tell a story. If you like what you see, call us to find out how we can do this for you! Click HERE to view examples of journal ads that tell a story.