The Fun Issue - Creatively Challenged

    Cover Story | December 2016/January 2017


    Francis Chong
    Managing director,
    Apxara Travel & Events, Malaysia

    Francis Chong

    Francis Chong

    When EcoWorld Development asked us to pitch for their World Environmental Day event as part of their marketing efforts, we jumped at the opportunity. We developed an event concept that combined visual elements using light, projection and art. To elevate the message of Mother Earth’s call for action, we made sure we practiced what we preached by adopting elements of reusing and recycling in everything that we built.

    The main attraction was a custom-built children’s treehouse that we constructed using reclaimed wood. Children were allowed to play in the treehouse during the day. When night fell, it was transformed into a canvas for projection mapping that relayed a story on Mother Earth.

    Other interactive activities during the event included an upcycled playground and an electric playground that used human energy to generate power and light.Students from the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Cyberjaya and The One Academy Penang also participated by designing art pieces for an art exhibition that celebrated upcycling.

    Love-Mother-Earth workshops were a part of the educational efforts as well and participants took home a gift to remind them of their role in conserving the environment.

    The event was run across eight locations in three states simultaneously over two weekends. This made it the largest-scale projection mapping operation in Malaysia thus far.

    Spectacular robot performances brought to live in Hilton Tokyo

    Spectacular robot performances brought to live in Hilton Tokyo

    Jarrod Stenhouse
    Managing director,
    Destination Asia, Japan

    An Australian financial company wanted an event that was different but still uniquely Japanese for around 400 people. We suggested the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district. However, it had a capacity of just 172.

    Hence, we arranged the Robot Restaurant’s first-ever off-site robot event at the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku in June, with five-metre tall robots dancing and performing, with lights, music and everything else that made the show so spectacular.

    The challenge was to recreate the original in a completely different venue which we did, and the client absolutely loved it. We have been proposing it to larger groups ever since that first event, although cost can be a factor.

    Angel Ramos Bognot

    Angel Ramos Bognot

    Angel Ramos Bognot
    President and ultra business event creator,
    Afro-Asian World Events, Philippines

    The Tourism Business Exchange Pilipinas 2016 held in Clark in November used decor, food, programmes and activities for that feel-good experience, positive vibes, might, power and strength to attract good business.

    The stage was designed like a runway, patterned after the Congress of America so that motivational speakers could better interact with the audience.

    An afternoon tea entertainment included Pokemon catching people instead of the usual phone user trying to catch Pokemon.

    Afterwards, the gala dinner, themed Blue Angels, featured all things blue. Every participant was given a pair of blue wings to wear; the live band sang angel-themed songs; and there was even a Victoria Secret-esque fashion show where male and female models strutted down the runway with wire wings on their backs.

    Peter King
    Chief executive, Melbourne
    Convention and Exhibition Centre

    In June, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre hosted the Hair Expo Australia 2016 for 5,000 delegates, with the challenge to create a closing reception and gala dinner that was both decadent and opulent – a luxurious theme for a luxurious industry.

    The Great Gatsby theme was chosen and the F&B offering was the centrepiece that came complete with ice sculptures and carvings, champagne towers and an edible dessert forest. The menu alone took three months of development and over 60 hours of preparation.

    Lawrence Chan
    General manager,
    Red Antz Event, Malaysia

    As part of an incentive initiative to appreciate and reward team members and trade partners, multinational chemicals manufacturing corporation BASF held a red carpet event in January 2016 at the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur.

    Themed Ring of Glory to signify pride, triumph and victory, the main highlight of the event was a raised boxing ring, positioned at the very tip of the stage runway.

    Actual boxing matches took place while 600 guests partook in an eight-course banquet.

    Fringe activities included street mentalists performing tricks and illusions, and there were photo opportunities with walkabout boxers.

    Marisa Nallana
    Philippine Exhibits and Themeparks Corp

    The month-long nationwide gastronomic festival Flavors of the Philippines, organised in April by the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, challenged our creativity due to its length, breadth, and components such as the Madrid Fusion Manila, food-related cultural activities, gourmet markets and bazaars, roving food trucks, and bar crawls.

    These components, in terms of visual appeal, themes and diversity of Philippines’ flavours took pains to uncover traditional and modern cooking techniques, common and unusual food ingredients and the variety of regional gustatory experiences in the country.

    For the second year of Madrid Fusion Manila, we invited chefs from around the world and its component, International Gastronomy Congress, was creative in tackling the history of Filipino food, including the impact of the Galleon trade and the influence of the West.

    James Kent
    Sales and marketing manager,
    The J Team DMC, Japan

    We had an MNC client in the technology sector who asking for something that was very Japanese, very different and a little techy for an event. (To fulfil that) we arranged a competition in which the group was divided into two teams and tasked with putting a robot together.

    We upped the challenge by getting the teams to take part in a football match to see who could score the most penalty goals against their rival’s robot.

    We arranged for the half-day event to take place in Tokyo’s Akihabara district – famous for technology and gadget shops – but it was tricky to find the right space to hold the event.

    The other issue was that it was expensive as these robot kits are very advanced and expensive. For that reason, we won’t be able to do something like this very often, but the client said it was just what they had hoped for.

    Robot football match for a tech event

    Robot football match for a tech event

    Rob Nelson
    General manager,
    Brisbane Convention Bureau

    Colour was the theme for Brisbane Convention Bureau’s business events showcase this year, Brisbane Pop-Up, to inspire planners to “add some colour to their events”.

    Executed by the bureau and The Styled Group, colour infiltrated each event element including a kaleidoscope that was projected onto the dome of Brisbane City Hall by Staging Connections and the major prize drawn by air cannons. Suppliers stands featured their own interpretation of the theme, with Stamford Plaza Hotel Brisbane winning Best Hotel Stand for its two staff members dressed in colourful inflatable suits.

    Olinto Oliveira
    Director, business development & events,
    MCI Macau

    The most creative event we did in 2016 was an event for Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central, themed Macau Fiesta. It was a casual dinner but the food booths were elaborate recreations of famous Macau icons. We had wine barrel cocktail tables and Portuguese weather rooster table centrepieces which added to the ambience.

    Macau landmarks recreated as food booths at MCI Macau’s Macau Fiesta event

    Macau landmarks recreated as food booths at MCI Macau’s Macau Fiesta event

    Andrew Koh
    Managing director,
    Events Architects, Singapore

    We executed a Dining by Design – Expect the Unexpected themed party for the launch of a new corporate identity & 2.0 roadmap for Lavish, a dining and catering company based in Singapore. Guests were welcomed with a “pop” of the Singapore Sling. Instead of it being served in a tall glass, it was presented as a sphere with mint granite. Guests were also treated to a sensory overload as the sphere expelled vapour like a dragon through their nostrils once they consumed the mythical pearl, taking them beyond the typical catering experience of chaffing trays, canapé and food stations.

    Linda Low
    Manager of strategic partnership and product marketing,
    Pacific World Singapore

    Our most creative project recently was for the Unilever Investor Relations Conference, during which we had to create four concepts for a few product categories – Refreshment, Food, Haircare and Homecare. The concepts had to offer an immersive experience. For the Food category, we created a lively farmer’s market stocked high with fresh produce and had park benches with yellow cushions placed all around to add to the sustainable-themed atmosphere.

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