Who’d have thought it? The attractive, but usually uneventful Bedford Square Gardens could be transformed into a fully functioning film set, complete with eight separate studios. That’s what happened when the Edelman summer party brought a filmset to Central London. With a little bit of creative thinking, Edelman turned the garden into “Backlot Studios”.
Hundreds of Edelman clients and staff had come to the “studios” to ‘Expect the Unexpected’ – for an opportunity to experience the different sets and even become movie stars for the night. Even those of us that had had an inkling of the theme for the event were amazed by what we saw.
The visit to Backlot Studios was an adventure to a small, British, independent movie studio based in central London since the 1950s – a reminder of the golden age of the silver screen. One minute we were in a 1920s hotel lobby, complete with cocktail bar, jazz singer and live pianist. Next, we were in a period costume drama – a kind of Downton Abbey in miniature. Throw in some gothic zombies, a seventies disco, seedy spy thriller, a space adventure and you get an idea of the eclectic nature of the summer party. It was a bit like what would happen if you threw all of Netflix into a blender and then watched the resulting movie kaleidoscope.
The party was not just an opportunity to mix, mingle and network, but what guests enjoyed most was the fact that the party was immersive and interactive. Who needs a run-of-the-mill photo booth when you can become one of the Usual Suspects in a police line-up for a group photo shoot? The space station studio set was given some added realism – with a Virtual Reality experience. In the studio with the green screen, meanwhile, guests could have fun as weather presenters, superheroes, or in the eye of a hurricane – anything they wanted really.
So what are the ingredients for such an amazing event? Fearless imagination is obviously top of the list. We know that completely off-the-wall ideas can turn out to be the most successful, so we’re never shy to put them on the table. Attention to detail is also important. The summer party worked so well because everything was meticulously planned in advance, and every single element of the party gelled perfectly with the theme.
After all, in the world of film-making, nothing is left to accident. Everything has its purpose. It’s just the same with a great event – or a successful campaign, for that matter. In a crowded comms space, we aim to deliver box office smash hits rather than B-movie also-rans.