Case study: Holland & Barrett's Conference Carnival

Holland and Barrett took over the entire Butlin's Minehead site to share its future vision with 1,600 staff at a carnival-themed conference.

Holland & Barrett's Conference Carnival
Holland & Barrett's Conference Carnival

Holland & Barrett chose to hold a Conference Carnival for more than 1,600 store managers, suppliers and support team members. Designed to inspire and motivate its staff, the brand also wanted to share its vision for the future.

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The company required a venue it could take over and that would enable it to create an immersive and exclusive experience able to instil pride in its delegates. The Butlin’s venue lent itself well to the creative carnival concept and ticked all the boxes in terms of versatility. It also fitted well with the Holland & Barrett ethos and values.

The entire Butlin’s resort was transformed into a Holland & Barrett carnival experience. According to Jon Kelly, director at agency Meet and Potato, the venue was chosen after the agency spotted Butlin’s advertising material. "We need space to produce the event for Holland & Barrett and the venue really gave us the opportunity to create a truly unique experience."

Delegates from across the UK and Europe arrive via coach and car, to be greeted by the Butlin’s skyline team and Redcoats. Guests got into the carnival spirit with activities such as the Butlin’s traditional fairground and adventure golf. In the evening delegates enjoyed a mini-music festival with a live band, market-style stands with paella, hot dogs, a sizzling BBQ and a beer tent.

For Emma Hobbs, group head of brand & marketing at Holland & Barrett, sharing the company messages was an important part of the day. "Our presenters worked very closely with the Meet & Potato’s content team to tie in the carnival theme with all the key messages and communicate them in a fun, inspiring way, keeping audiences engaged with our communication objectives throughout the day. It was very satisfying to see how engaged our colleagues were in all main plenary and breakout sessions."

As the largest event ever held at the Minehead resort, the venue faced a few new challenges. "For an event of this multitude, pre-event rigging needed to be undertaken in the Skyline Pavilion, which is visited by more than 4,000 guests every day," said Simon Jones, national sales manager at Butlin’s. "To overcome the challenge of setting up in the Skyline Pavilion while it was being used by guests, Meet & Potato’s technical crew were able to rig for several nights to lay the production infrastructure. This was completed the week before the event so as not to disrupt other guests at our to Minehead resort."

"Conference Carnival 2016 really did go off with a bang," says Hobbs. "Every single aspect of it was fun, engaging, motivating and inspiring which is exactly what we had wanted it to be. It exceeded all of our expectations and we are very grateful to both Meet & Potato and Butlin’s for all they did to deliver such a resounding success."

According to Holland & Barrett, the feedback was ‘incredible’, with an extremely active Twitter feed to prove it. "We have been told since that it was a great experience, very memorable and very inspiring. It made our colleagues feel proud to work for Holland & Barrett and motivated them to play their part in delivering our business objectives," says Hobbs.


Who: Holland & Barrett
When: 21 June 2016
Where: Butlin’s Minehead
Agency: Meet & Potato
What: Conference Carnival 2016
Group size: 1,600

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