Running the risk

When the thought of insurance enters the mind of any seasoned event organiser, it’s seldom as the catalyst for an ingenious idea. Rather, it’s the worrying cost of covering the risk that comes with an exciting project. For Jack Morton Hong Kong, though, it came as a surprise and delight when ING not only selected the firm to rethink the marketing and arrange the launch of one of its key insurance products, but also backed some of the company’s most exciting ideas.

Initially appointed to handle the customer activation of ING’s Critical Insurance product, the relationship blossomed and the event organiser was soon arranging an awards ceremony and gala dinner for 2,000 of ING’s agents, staff and client partners. The dinner also marked the transition of ING’s ownership, welcoming in a new parent company, PCG.

For the client activation project, Jack Morton’s creative team presented five different ideas and ING selected “Life Goes On”. This experiential promotion saw flash mobs of seemingly elderly and infirm members of the public burst into choreographed dance across Hong Kong, every weekend in March.

Interactive event
From the very outset, ING’s pace of delivery put the team at Jack Morton into fifth gear. Jane Saunders, Jack Morton’s creative strategist, says: “ING is such a fast-paced company. Although it was a challenge, it was an invigorating one. After beginning work on the activation project, Lennard Yong, ING’s CEO, actually delivered the brief for the awards ceremony and gala from the back of a car whilst travelling to a Christmas lunch, and he wanted feedback within the next few days. It sounds tough but sometimes the most creative solutions are born that way.”

Saunders says: “ING had already locked in a date and secured Asia World Expo as a venue, but it was up to us to arrange the activities on the night itself. Typically, these kind of events are built around a gala dinner but that was exactly what ING wanted to avoid. The last thing anyone wanted was for the attendees to be sat in a corner somewhere, whilst music was played at them. They had to be involved.”

The event saw the group of 1,600 initially assemble for an awards ceremony. Built around a sports theme, over 300 awards were given out to the top ING agents over three hours. A cocktail reception followed and the agents were joined by staff and client partners for the “Brand New Day” event that Jack Morton had put together.?Asia World Expo was filled with challenges, games, interactive stands and screens more befitting a rock concert than a staff get-together. Far from being standard gala dinner fare, this event was designed to excite and challenge the agents and, importantly, build a strong sense of company spirit with the new leadership.

Saunders says: “The event took place around Chinese New Year, so we also had a wish tree which encouraged staff to write about their hopes for the future, which kept the ‘Brand New Day’ theme tied up together.

“One of the most popular activities, though, was the photo booths. Massive groups of people from different sales teams and departments lined up to put on silly wigs and hats and get a snap of each other.”

Another highlight was a live video mash-up, where staff were encouraged to come together and perform a karaoke version of the Cantopop hit “Red Sun” by Hacken Lee. Jack Morton’s team had already recorded the senior executives singing the song, and all the recordings were spliced together and played to the crowd toward the end of the evening.

The big finale was the surprise appearance of star Cantopop band Grasshopper. Saunders says: “This was a real surprise for all the guests, who were really excited to have the band attend. From our perspective too, it was a real boon to get them. The chairman of ING’s new owner, PCG, Richard Li also runs PCCW, the city’s largest broadcaster and it was thanks to his connections that we were able to make arrangements  with such short notice.”

Successful Challenge 
From Jack Morton’s perspective, the biggest success of the event was born out of the challenges the team faced. The event was also delivered to an audience who wouldn’t select English as their primary language. Thankfully, though, Jack Morton’s mix of Cantonese and Western staff gave them a distinct advantage.

Saunders says: “Sometimes we’d come up with an idea and the guys from Hong Kong would say: ‘Here’s how to twist that to make it more effective for the audience.’ This project really showcased our good understanding of the Hong Kong market, and our creative strengths.”

As Saunders explains though, the biggest challenge was the timeline. She says: “We really only had six weeks to put everything together. In most other scenarios it wouldn’t have been possible but I can’t stress enough how great the client was. ING understood the implications of being late and turned around every decision quickly, often within an hour.

“Internally, we also had to really push our lines of communication. There were three separate teams working on the project and the last thing anyone wants to do is drop the ball. We had to be very strict with each other in to ensure everything went smoothly.”

Without the close client relationship between Jack Morton and ING, the likelihood of success may well have been diminished. Thankfully it was clear that the evening was a bold success.

Saunders says: “You always want to be in a position where your client is this receptive, but it’s rarely the case. In this instance, because ING worked so closely with us and trusted our judgement, it was a dream.”

EVENT ING Awards and Celebration Dinner
VENUE Asia World Expo Hong Kong
DATE March 23, 2013
ORGANISER Jack Morton Hong Kong
TEL +852 2805 1767


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