Advertising Week

Event:
Day conference and social programme

Client Sector:
Advertising

Location:
Picturehouse Central

A thought leadership conference for marketing, advertising, brand, media and technology professionals.

Overview

Advertising Week Europe is the premier conference for marketing, advertising, brand, media and technology professionals. The schedule includes seminars by day and special event by night. Over 35K delegates attend 250+ seminars and workshops and special events including a daily breakfast and lunch series and multiple special events every night.  Absolute has been involved in the event from the outset and the services have increased as the project has expanded.

Having successfully delivered the event previously at BAFTA where the event outgrew the available spaces (including a double-decker marquee we had to build to provide extra space!) Absolute was tasked to completely re-plan the logistics of the event when the main programme took over the Picturehouse Central; a multi-screen cinema in Piccadilly Circus.


Services Provided

Pre planning and onsite production including:

  • Production Director overseeing the logistics, staffing, vendors and all sponsors for lifecycle of project
  • Production team overseeing all sponsors, activations and venue logistics
  • Stage management team overseeing preproduction of approx. 250 individual session owners and managing each stage onsite
  • Technical Director; consultation and providing all technical equipment for the 8 stages and all event areas
  • Providing a technical team of 60 onsite, including rigging team, lighting technicians, sound technicians, camera operator and floor managers
  • Sourcing, training and managing a team of 70 event support team including scanners, VIP room manager, activation staff, queue managers, registration staff and general directional staff
  • Sourcing, scheduling training and managing a team of approx. 90 volunteer staff to support all aspects of event

The Challenge

Moving the event to Picturehouse Central provided many challenges as it isn’t equipped to be a standard ‘event venue’.

Transforming cinema screens into suitable conference stages involved designing and building bespoke stage backdrops which wouldn’t impact the expensive cinema silver screens.

We had to come up with a ‘best practice’ for managing the people movement of 1000’s of guests each day, queuing for sessions and moving safely through the venue. Working directly with the client’s programming team, it was important to schedule the content for each of the 8 stages in a way that wouldn’t cause issues with ingress and egress of each live session.

Managing expectations of multiple celebrities expecting dressing room space in a venue which was not equipped for talent was challenging, as was utilising as many quirky spaces for large sponsor activations, including gaining permissions to install semi-permanent structures on the roof!

Due to the location of the venue being on a busy cross section in Soho with no parking, careful planning to ensure smooth install and de-rig and daily deliveries for the event involved working very closely with Westminster County Council special events team to ensure all relevant permits, official road closures etc were obtained and adhered to.

Planning and sourcing a team of nearly 200 event support team, being careful to not over service or go over budget required careful planning and training.

Seemingly small challenges caused large headaches with no onsite storage available, as every given space (including store cupboards and back of house staircases) were utilised to accommodate every aspect of such a large scale event.

On the live event, the 8 stages were showing content concurrently which provided challenges if a session overran and with only a 10min window allowed by the client’s programming schedule, it tested the teams to the limit to turn each session around in the shortest of timeframes.

The event also involves a social programme where AP LIVE primarily support the technical set up for the events. This involves installing special event equipment into multiple venues each day, including Fortnum and Mason for lunch sessions and unique venues such as Kensington Palace, Lambeth Palace and Borough Market to name a few. Each of these venues provides its own challenges with restrictions and tight turnaround times.

APG have worked as an extension of our team for 9 years and counting. Their mantra of “leave it with me” is a phrase we’re most used to hearing and a solution is always provided. When the chips are down, they are as invested in our event as we are.

KEITH WECKSTEIN | SVP OPERATIONS, STILLWELL PARTNERS

The Results

The client was happy with the management and the execution of all the elements planned.

The event was a big success in its new home and the feedback from returning attendees confirmed they were all amazed and delighted with the new location and layout.

The first year’s plans gave us some real insight into best laid plans for delegate flow and although deemed successful on a first attempt, improvements were made to the event in the following years to perfect the attendee experience.

The 8 session stages were all successfully managed from year 1, but we agreed that a larger window and a tweak in the clients scheduling programme could be improved to avoid any guest flow pinch points during the day.

The relationship with the client has been so successful that AP LIVE have gone on to support Advertising Week in their global programme of events including Sydney, New York, Tokyo and upcoming new locations in the pipeline. When the event went Virtual in 2020 and 2021, AP LIVE rose to the challenge to create an engaging event online.


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