Agency Challenge: product launches

C&IT poses a product launch brief to four event agencies

Agency Challenge: product launches
Agency Challenge: product launches

Brief: The client is launching an existing brand into a new, crowded market. The challenge is to make the product stand out from the crowd. Any UK location and venue with maximum pulling power will be considered.

1. LUCI BEAUFORT-DYSART, Account director, TRO

For me the invitation process is as important as the venue. I would send all invitees a pop-up invitation that safely explodes on arrival, instantly differentiating this product launch from others. Guests would be summoned to London's Liverpool Street Station with instructions to locate a human statue (dressed in the brand's corporate colours). Bearing a 'stand out from the crowd' sign, the statue would give them a pass to a specially laid-on black cab, the inside of which would feature teaser shots of the product and the brand to create further intrigue. The cab would take them to the famous, traditional, bustling Spitalfields market. Here, the showcase would be staged at a specially designed pop-up space. This would contrast with the traditional environment and, as well as being a unique and talked-about event space, would also generate some great PR for the brand.

2. LIZ YATES, Director of operations, event services, BSI Meetings & Events

As the brief suggests that the brand is to be showcased into an already crowded marketplace, central to our approach to attract buyers to attend in the first place will be the draw of the venue and its location. With this in mind, we will use the new Crowne Plaza Heythrop Park because of its proximity to the Midlands and ease of access for UK delegates. Depending on the type of brand we are promoting, the venue offers a choice of both the traditional and modern. Guests would have a lasting impression of the venue, which stands in impressive grounds. There is excellent access for the delivery of products, which would in turn give the client peace of mind. The meeting space at the Crowne Plaza is extremely versatile, allowing the brand to be displayed in the ample space of the ballroom and delegates to be addressed in comfort in the state-of-the-art, purpose-built auditorium.

3. JONATHAN BOYNE, Managing director, Canyon

The concentration of retail headquarters in London means we would recommend holding the launch at Altitude 360.

We would plan a four-hour experience rather than a full day, which is a big time commitment for a buyer. The white, minimalist interior of Altitude 360 would allow us to create a gallery-style experience, with buyers moving from engaging information displays to exaggerated art installations featuring the product. This will tell a powerful story and enable buyers to consume information at their own pace. We would secure a partnership with complementary hospitality brands, such as the Langham or Jamie Oliver, to enhance the experience. The launch needn't be sales-focused. It would be a chance for the product team to connect with buyers and for the latter to reach the conclusion through self-discovery that this is a great product.

4. DAVID HARDING, Chief executive, 360 Creative Event Services

A launch of this nature has to be exciting and original to entice busy retailers to attend. We would recommend London because that's where the majority of retail headquarters are. With this in mind, we would propose an event held within the Olympic Park site. Not many people know that most of the main venues are structurally complete, so an invitation to an event there certainly stands out. The proceedings would be tailored to the brand and the size of the audience. For a fashion retailer we would build a runway in the Velodrome; for an IT retailer we would project product images onto the domed roof of the basketball arena. The launch would be completed with a tour of the site, and then a drinks reception in the handball arena with its unique roof. The Olympic theme would run through the event - from the invitations to the goody bags.

Client verdict:  Sandra Fontaine, senior events, congress and travel executive, Sanofi Pasteur MSD

I liked agency one's response best. I also liked agency four but I've been to the Olympic Park and it was a bit challenging to get to, so this impacted on my experience of the event.

London would be my first choice for a venue suitable for a retail launch event: as the location for London Fashion Week it creates the right creative image. Logistically, it would be easy for Midlands-based head-office attendees to get to and for other delegates.

I love the creative idea of an invitation exploding on my desk to create a wow effect, and the 'stand out from the crowd' idea. None of the other agencies presented creative ideas like this. Spitalfields market is a very interesting venue that offers a lot of possibilities - you could also make this a secret location to add to the experience.

I would like the inclusion of a scheduled marketing plan/timeline leading up to the event: for example, every week those sent invitations would receive some other marketing collateral to enhance the build-up to this launch. I would have liked to see some ideas on how the agency gathers information and responses from the attendees: the event should not just end on the day of the launch, some form of after-event information gathering should take place.

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