5 Events Proving Europe is Alive and Kicking

Skift Take

A couple of weeks ago #Eubea15 happened. Here are the most innovative and tech savvy events proving that Europe knows how to succeed at events.

I don’t usually write about events I attend. I had to make an exception for #EuBea15.

It was the 10th year that the creme de la creme of european event and live communication professionals came together to celebrate the best. Nothing new there.

I was part of an incredible jury, made of the best of the best event and marketing clients in Europe. Companies like Fiat, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Lego, who usually allocate large budgets to events, gathered to vote for the best event in several categories. Once again, nothing new.

What was very different compared to other events I’ve been judging was the judging process. Over 8 hours dozens of event agencies pitched to the jury. I got to hear some of the greatest projects of last year and gained terrific insights about the zeitgeist of events in Europe. That’s what moved me to write this post.

5 events stood all above all others. They are not necessarily the winners, but they are definitely events worth sharing with you. Most of presenters did a very poor or average job at showing the results of their event. The 5 projects I will present, excelled at demonstrating the impact of the event on the bottom line, in changing perceptions and in demonstrating tangible engagement with digital.

So let me introduce you to 5 events that kicked ass this year at #EuBea15.

1. Maasvlakte II Terminal Launch – Agency: Bind Film

By far the most exciting and my personal favourite of the whole competition. This is a container terminal launch; for heaven’s sake can you think about anything more boring? Yet the way they implemented the whole project was remarkable.

There were no traditional presentation screens and the terminal itself was the focus of action. The wise use of technology with the actual content of the event (the containers) used as vehicles of the message. The low tech pop-up book you could bring home. This is one of the best corporate launches I’ve seen in a while.

2. Alfa Romeo, An Italian Creation. Agency: Simmetrico

Obviously biased on this one. I love Alfa, Italy and Bocelli. Yet this has nothing to do with my bias. I am quite harsh when it comes to judging. These guys were not given justice by the jury of #EuBea15. They were probably the only ones to deliver an accurate report with meaningful, staggering results on social media.

While most of the pitches where throwing nonsensical ‘We reached 1M people’ statements, Simmetrico provided a very detailed report comparing sentiment, offering in-depth engagement analysis. Social media is not a joke, these guys got it.

3. World Premiere of the Freightliner Inspiration Truck – Agency: Oliver Schrott Kommunkation

This event is the launch of a self driving truck. Yes, you read right. So they decided to to use some projection mapping to show the truck. Nothing great right?

The thing is they decided to go for the Hoover Dam in Las Vegas and turn it into the largest, drivable screen ever. They projected a 30 minute presentation onto a surface of a little over 420,000 square feet. This is equal to almost nine football fields and over 87 average-size IMAX screens.

To achieve this, the 60 projectors were synchronized to create an image with a resolution of 4592 x 2048 pixels on the dam a half-mile away. Together the 60 units generated about 1.17 million lumens, which is equivalent to the output of more than 1,400 60-watt household light bulbs and an official world record among projections. They just had one shot to do it while the truck self-drove itself to the stage. My head hurts for how cool this is.

4. Amsterdam Motor Show – Agency: Kubik

I was amazed by the tough challenge this agency had to face and how they solved it. They had to create an appealing car tradeshow with substantial budget cuts. They applied some creative thinking and decided to move the traditional large back walls of the car exhibits into the main aisles, to create a modern “Gallery” setting that functions as a red carpet route through the seven major exhibition halls of the RAI Complex.

To achieve this they had to negotiate with each exhibitor the design of the booth, which was centralized.  For every car manufacturer, they made a tailor-made design based on their corporate identity and visual branding. I can’t even imagine how tough the negotiation was.

More than 290,000 visitors enjoyed the show, which was an increase of 8% compared to the previous edition. Visitors rated the show with a 7.5 on a 10 point scale (average for consumer shows lies around  7.0). Car brands rated the show 8, where previous show scored 7.1. Post-show research indicated that 95% of the exhibitors achieved theirs goals. Bravo!

5. #WhatAreYouFor – Agency: Merlo

I was captivated by the complexity of this launch for the new smart car in Italy. They strategically used social to engage with audiences without revealing the launch. Secrecy at its best.

Five concurrent events took place with thousands of attendees and a teaser campaign lasting an entire week that captured the attention of media and social networks.  

During the teaser, several cryptic spheres or ‘unidentified objects’ appeared in the streets, squares and even on the river of Rome, the Eternal City. And then a viral campaign started, capturing the attention of the web and the media.

The teaser was supported by an intense campaign of web promotion through the production of viral videos, with the aim to create attention and curiosity about the mysterious spheres, creating great excitement on social networks.

So many hypothesis were born about the meaning of the spheres: some said that the spheres were used to promote a new video game, a smartphone of the latest generation, the new album from Pink Floyd.

I’ll leave you to the video to see the story unfold. Great creative hook.

Bonus: The Controversial Project

One of the best scored projects was ‘Hearing Hands’ by Dinamo Turkey. 75% of the jury was crying by the end the campaign video.

They spent less than $50K on this campaign and achieved millions in earned media. But this is not the point. There was a heated discussion in the jury about the campaign.

While digital, online, hybrid is changing events as we know them, this is not an event. It is a TV ad, a candid camera, a viral. Call it whatever you want, but it is not an event.

This is for two main reasons:

– it lacks a live audience
– it does not reflect the projects event professionals usually work on. It does not require event planning skills to be implemented.

A lot of the discussion revolved on ‘what is an event then?’ and ‘this is a new type of event’. While I am quite convinced on my opinion, I would lie if I said I did not understand the counterargument. Events are becoming different experiences for digital audiences.

Would love to hear your thoughts about it.

In Conclusion

Over here in Europe we tend to suffer from the ‘grass is always greener’ syndrome.

These events that range in budgets and objectives have two things in common: a great idea and the commitment to deliver tangible results.

Europe is at the forefront of corporate events and live communication.

If you are an agency and work on similar projects, we want to hear from you. Wherever you are, whatever budget. Use the contact section to get in touch.