A corporate event does not always have to be staid and formal. There are times when spicing up a product launch, meeting or conference can really earn dividends by burning an unusual night’s entertainment into guests’ memories, to be recounted to a wider audience in the following days and weeks – every organiser’s dream. From appearances by world-famous performing artists to fascinating traditional dances or mind-blowing light shows, here are some successful events that have done just that.
EVENT Formula One Chinese Grand Prix weekend
VENUE M1NT Shanghai, China
WHEN April 14, 2011
THE WOW FACTOR The F1 weekend held at Shanghai’s premium entertainment venue, M1NT, included four nights of high-energy events. A-list guests, race drivers, team owners, celebrities and selected media attended the parties hosted by Ferrari, UBS and Porsche, as well as the F1 official closing party. On April 14, guests attended an exclusive dinner followed by a champagne reception at the M1NT Club hosted by Ferrari. What fascinated guests was an actual 2008 Ferrari Formula One Grand Prix car suspended from the ceiling, which was on full display. Everyone was so surprised to see this unusual decoration that many asked if it was just a model car. In this unique atmosphere, guests socialised and partied the night away with M1NT’s resident DJs as well as DJ Greg from the UK and DJ Erok from Miami. The closing party ended with a bang too, featuring a performance by Lady Gaga, who had the crowd pumped up, with models styled traditionally in Chinese costumes, and Spanish body-painted models who brightened the whole party experience.
GROUP SIZE Over 1,200 each night
CONTACT Closing party was organised by M1NT and Code 20 (other events were hosted by Ferrari, UBS and Porsche)
EVENT Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) Annual Champions Incentive Trip
VENUE Koh Samui, Thailand
WHEN March 15-19, 2010
THE WOW FACTOR At a Full Moon Glow themed dinner held on the beach at the Anantara hotel, group delegates were treated to a dance by acrobats in glowing costumes and live art statues. However, it was the “Thai Fear Factor” challenge that raised excitement levels. Guests were asked to volunteer for a challenge without knowing what to expect. They were then blindfolded and instructed to eat as many of the five types of Thai fried insects and grubs laid out in front of them within one minute. A drum roll was played as the participants tried to swallow the insects and wash them down with beer. Other guests were squeamish over the scene, especially when the participants were trying to eat a large white grub. All in the name of good fun, the prize was a Thai handicraft trophy fashioned out of a coconut.
GROUP SIZE 84
CONTACT Exotissimo Travel, http://traveltrade.exotissimo.com/mice/home
ENDING WITH A BANG
EVENT KFMB TV’s Balinese Fantasy Evening
VENUE Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park, Bali
WHEN October 2009
THE WOW FACTOR Guests adorned with marigold and orchid leis were led down candlelit pathways to the Lotus Pond. The arena was in absolute darkness. Then, the Adi Merdangga troupe (a Balinese marching band) gained momentum, building up to a crashing bang. All the lights immediately came on, revealing a huge limestone auditorium. After the CEO gave his speech, guests were asked to move to the back of the auditorium and sit in a semicircle. Suddenly the lights turned red and 200 bare-chested men silently walked down the stairs, and sat inside the semicircle. They began the swaying movements of the Kecak Dance and went into what seemed like a trance. Just as the chanting reached fever pitch, the entire auditorium lit up with a spectacular fireworks show, which caught the guests by surprise. The event was such a spectacular one that the CEO was in tears of joy.
GROUP SIZE 120
CONTACT Destination Asia (Vietnam), www.destination-asia.com/vietnam
UP IN THE AIR
EVENT NIKE Houzimen Basketball Park Opening
VENUE Chengdu, China
WHEN June 2010
THE WOW FACTOR An invitation-only event for basketball lovers, young artists, musicians, designers and other creative people, the opening ceremony of Chengdu’s most exciting basketball park could not have left guests more impressed. Street basketball performances, a graffiti, tattoo and digital design show, and T-shirt designing were some of the activities that kept the young crowd entertained. The spotlights suddenly focused on an elevated cage – a basketball court raised three metres above the ground, surrounded by protective netting. The huge LED screen lit up and a local band stepped out to greet the astonished audience below. The whole gig gave another meaning to the phrase “high-flying act”. The audience formed a circle on the ground underneath the basketball court and danced the night away.
GROUP SIZE 500
CONTACT Liquid Impact, www.liquidimpact.cn
EVENT Fiserv Corporate Prestige Dinner
VENUE Sydney Harbour, Australia
WHEN May 2010
THE WOW FACTOR With the sensational backdrop of Sydney Harbour, guests were hosted onboard the luxury AQA private cruise. A gregarious host – “Champagne Jayne” – entertained the guests, who were savouring the Cristal 2002 Champagne. But a dramatic finale caught them off guard – lights dimmed and a candelabra was placed on each table, and Danielle Everett, one of Australia’s most sought-after cabaret performers, emerged through the spotlight at the terrace doorway, singing “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera. Performer Dale Burridge joined in, serenading and interacting with the guests with a selection of arias. “Nessun Dorma” was sung as an encore, for which the singers earned thunderous cheers and applause.
GROUP SIZE 40
CONTACT MCI Australia, www.mci-group.com/australia
EVENT Cathay Pacific’s Light Up the Sky
VENUE Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
WHEN December 7, 2010
THE WOW FACTOR The event started off like a regular corporate get-together, with guests sipping cocktails outside the hall. Then the doors were opened, and they were ushered into the minimally decorated hall. All eyes were on the stage, waiting for the event to commence. The lights went down and the silhouette of a man dressed in black was revealed right in the middle of the hall. This “laser man” began to create visual images with green laser lights, as he danced around with one light beam, making the light appear like a solid mass. Synchronised with the club music playing in the background, he created shapes such as fans, using martial-art type movements. All the guests were entranced by the show, entirely blown away by the novelty and magnificence of the performance. The event then continued with its main purpose: the unveiling of the carrier’s new business class seat, staff uniform and lounge concepts.
GROUP SIZE Over 3,000 guests, including Cathay Pacific frequent fliers, supporters and media.