Event: Televisionaries conference
Group size: 300
Date: 20 November 2008
Venue: One Marylebone Road
The brief: Thinkbox is a television marketing body that represents UK commercial broadcasters. At the end of last year it appointed Sledge to create Televisionaries, an industry event targeting senior decision-makers in the advertising, marketing and media industries. Sledge commercial director Ian Irving says: "Thinkbox commissioned us to create a 'televisually' stunning, informative and entertaining half-day forum for people to discuss, debate, be informed about and be inspired by the exciting present and future of commercial TV."
Challenges: Gathering leading figures and competitors for a debate was the first challenge. The forum itself also needed to be highly interactive, both for the audience at the venue and an audience watching live over the web.
Thinkbox marketing director Lindsey Clay says: "One of the major challenges in staging this event was the sheer technological complexity." The forum included live speakers using an autocue, televisual inserts, an interactive quiz with the audience answering questions on handsets and the results projected on screen, and a Q&A with the audience. Thinkbox also required the filming of the entire event, with a live video edit shown at the end and a live webstream.
Irving adds that Sledge needed to "make sure that the film quality was as good for those seeing it live at the venue as it was for those watching on their computers".
Solutions: To attract delegates to the event and create a sense of occasion, historic venue One Marylebone Road was chosen. Its location, close to the offices of many of those in the industry, was an added benefit. Televisionaries striped branding was used subtly throughout the event in exterior and interior lighting, on the cushions on the stage's sofas, screen graphics, and even in the refreshments, creating the visual impact the event required.
Sledge had a technical hub that oversaw the technological requirements of the evening. A producer also oversaw the event, ensuring everything went to schedule. To ensure the web audience received a high-quality experience of the forum, the production team also carried out a live edit on-site and streamed the coverage live on the Thinkbox website.
"The live web stream attracted more than 500 additional viewers to the event," says Irving. Sledge Film and Video also created 36 short films to screen during the event. The agency used high production values to make sure that the content was equivalent to what the delegates were accustomed to professionally.
Execution: The Soane Hall was used as the central location for the forum. A low stage with a screen designed to look like a plasma television was set up, with sofas providing relaxed seating for the speakers. Attendees had voting handsets with microphones that they could use for questions and responses following the conference sessions. The live feed of the event was also shown on plasma screens in the Baccarat Room to allow attendees taking a break from the main area to keep up with the conference. When the forum ended at 6pm, the group moved into the Baccarat Room for networking with drinks and canapes until 9pm.
Verdict: "We were delighted with the way the event turned out," says Thinkbox's Clay. She adds that very good attendance on the day was boosted by an additional 500 viewers to the live web stream. The event also received "great feedback from delegates and exactly the kind of media coverage we were looking for".