Edinburgh: Case study - Advocates for charity

The pharmaceutical company wanted to organise an impressive fashion show to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support and its own profile with guests.

The brief: The client wanted a fashion show and dinner to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. As this was a non-traditional event for the company it needed more than the usual black-tie event if it was to attract local corporates and an international audience from the pharmaceutical sector. "We wanted the event to be unique," says Advocates corporate affairs manager Angelina Fisher. "We're a young company and wanted a venue with a minimalist but interesting look to reflect our branding and wow the guests."

Challenges: Logistically, this was a complex event as the drinks reception, fashion show, dinner and dancing were all taking place in different parts of the building. Fisher had a very clear vision of what she wanted: "As I come from a dance background, I really wanted to choreograph the whole event myself to make sure there were no awkward silences," she says. The biggest challenge, therefore, was timing on the night.

Furthermore, the design of the venue itself presents a challenge as the walls of the Stratosphere are made of glass with a tented ceiling, so the area is not soundproof. Licensing restrictions mean that amplified music over 77db is not allowed in parts of the building, particularly the main Stratosphere, but it is an option in the Ozone.

Solution: The solution came in the form of a detailed schedule of timings that both client and organiser stuck to rigidly. "We tried to anticipate any potential catering issues due to unforeseen timing changes," explains Claire MacBride-Stewart, events co-ordinator at Dynamic Earth. "For example, we chose a starter that could be put out on the tables and wouldn't spoil just in case the fashion show finished later than planned."

To make sure the client was happy with the sound levels, Dynamic Earth technicians played cabaret music through the in-house sound system before the event. "By doing this, the client was able to hear for herself what the volume level and overall sound would be on the night, and this alleviated any worries," says MacBride-Stewart.

Execution: The red carpet was rolled out for 7pm with guests greeted on arrival and ushered downstairs for a drinks reception in the rainforest room with a string quartet to provide atmosphere. Guests went on a brief tour through the Earthscape galleries into the Biosphere, where they were seated by 8pm for the start of a fashion show, which was interspersed with dance performances. At 9pm, guests were ushered back upstairs to the Stratosphere. The 600-capacity space was set up for a three-course dinner, and delegates got to enjoy the views of the new Scottish Parliament building and Holyrood Park. After dinner, guests moved through to the Ozone for drinks and dancing until 2am.

Verdict: The event went smoothly - down to the split-second timing. The client was delighted with the response and plans to hold a similar event at the same venue in October 2008. "We had very positive feedback, especially about the food, and felt that the event ran like clockwork," says Fisher. "Most of all, we raised £5,000 on the night for Macmillan - a real result."

FACTFILE
Client: Advocates Pharmaceutical and Healthcare
Event: Fashion Fusion fundraising event
Agency: In house
Group size: 280
Date: 28 October 2006
Venue Dynamic Earth
Budget: £18,000

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