y Pete D'Andrea, SVP, Sponsorship and Events
As the football season comes to a close (with another Cowboyless Super Bowl) it was pointed out by several friends that it is my turn in the hood to host the Super Bowl party. Seems simple ' some wings, lots of beer, and a bunch of guys huddled around a TV stuffing their face for 5 hours - Wrong. I was quickly reminded that I graduated college many years ago and no longer live in a house with 10 other dudes. After taking 30 seconds to let this sink in (25 of those seconds remembering how easy life was back then), I began to think this isn't much different than another day in the office planning an event. So let's dig in.
After the brief meeting with the CMO (aka my wife Nicole), a budget and core objectives were set:
- Host a great event that the neighborhood will be talking about and posting on FB
- Make sure me and my neanderthal football buddies can focus on the game and talk football for 5 hours straight
- Don't ignore the wives and make sure they have something to do
- The game will last about 4 ' 4.5 hours so make sure our guests don't lose interest
- Tough day to hook a babysitter so the kids have to be invited and need something to keep them busy (i.e. out of the way if they aren't watching the game)
These are some similar challenges we face when planning an event for young kids. It is important to think about and plan for the entire family to maximize attendance and participation at your event. Of course the experience for the kids needs to be relevant to the brand and fun and exciting but you also need to consider the parent and build in activities for them as well. Setting up areas that allow the parent to take a break, get some refreshments, relax on comfortable furniture while still keeping one eye on their child is key. Build activities where the parent can participate with the brand along with their child and not just be a spectator. Reward the parent with adult relevant prizes along with younger themed prizes and swag for the kids. Include this messaging in your pre-promo to make sure parents know there will be something in it for them. These type of tactics will build a common thread between the parent and the child, build parental endorsement and increase sharing within online communities via the parent. I don't know of too many employed 8 year olds that are driving so it is important to remember Mom or Dad when building out your event experience.
So back to delivering on my CMO's objectives:
- Establish a core football room ' minimum of 2 big screens so every play can be viewed at every angle, replayed, rewound and replayed again
- Non-football watching youngsters ' in the basement with babysitter (this way you only need 1 for the neighborhood), X-Box, Wii, and collection of American Girl dolls to dress, undress and re-dress
- TV in kitchen ' can't miss the game while reloading the cheese and crackers and'?¦..doesn't everyone always end up in kitchen?
- Boxes ' small dollar amount for football pool to keep interest even in a blow-out
And if all else fails ' FREE WINGS AND BEER ' isn't that enough? (sorry Nicole