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Resilience [the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness]

Event: British Secret Garden / Jaguar LandRover of Richmond
Objective: Produce a unique Grand Opening that encourages guests to explore all three levels of the dealership of over 106,000 sq ft
Result: Multi-award winning event

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Overview

British Secret Garden was the VIP Grand Opening of a JLR showroom, our client’s 50th anniversary, AND the launch of the Land Rover Velar, attended by executives from both National and International headquarters.  Producing an event doing justice to all of these occasions would require tireless attention to detail and a well-established design to incorporate each aspect into a cohesive and accessible whole.  Bright Ideas produced this event by never losing focus of our event objectives and resilience was definitely a part of the event process.   The construction delays on this project spread over a three year period which caused ongoing modifications to our event design. Together with our client we identified that we needed to introduce guests to the new building accentuating its high-tech features spread across 106,000 square feet. We also wanted to celebrate this milestone corporate anniversary by showcasing the history of the dealership.

But, for this three-in-one event, we couldn’t get away with just the template 3 hour cocktail party that was the precedent in the Vancouver area for the Grand Opening of auto dealerships.  Executives from JLR’s National and International headquarters were going to be present.  We wanted to showcase the new building and the history of the dealership in a way that would have all of them thinking that British Secret Garden was so outstanding that it should be the new template for JLR Grand Openings World Wide!

To mark the anniversary, a 50th anniversary wordmark was designed and featured on all media walls and signage.  The ribbon cutting ceremony included a speech by the elderly founder wielding the same pair of scissors that opened his original building 50 years earlier.

The Process

We established our event design to showcase the new building, and then set about delivering it in a way that was so cohesive and accessible that even corporate executives would be drawn into exploring the whole building.  Secret Garden Girls, stunningly beautiful creatures that were a combination of butterflies and flowers, some carrying wings, floated around the venue encouraging guests to experience the whole building just to see what was around the next corner or up that flight of stairs.  A custom-designed boxwood maze covering nearly 4,000 square feet with a secret centre carried guests on a self-guided tour of the space. 

The precise lines of boxwood reflected perfectly the sleek look of JLR.  But, any successful concept plays contrasting elements against each other to maximize creativity and impact.  So this rigidity needed to be contrasted by something whimsical.  If our setting was an impeccable English garden as perceived through the lens of strict corporate brand guidelines, it should feature colorful butterflies and delicate roses in the silvers, greens, and whites shared by both brands.  Combining measured with impulsive, British Secret Garden was born.

At every opportunity, we matched the angular boxwood with whimsical, creative touches.  Emerging from the boxwood archway, guests were greeted by stunning Butterfly Girls wearing custom-designed wings spanning over 7 feet offering a Welcome Champagne.  On the second floor, Flower Petal Girls fluttered through the crowd, enticing guests to explore the whole venue while stopping for memorable photos. 

Challenges

Because this building was new even for our client, we experienced our share of challenges but had resilience. For example, the in-house electricians hadn’t yet identified the circuits in the breaker panels, all controlled by a computer monitoring system.  So rewiring them to provide power could have disastrous effects.  So, a power drop was sourced at the last minute and a cover was built using left-over pieces of boxwood cladding.

To complicate matters further, nearly twenty suppliers had to load everything in using the single delivery bay and freight elevator, and work while the showroom was still open for business.  Over two days of on-site construction, everything had to be staggered in a logical order so workers wouldn’t be tripping over each other, standing around waiting for their turn, or tarnishing the sales experiences for prospective car buyers.

The Result

After attending the JLR Grand Opening, guests were most impacted by the cohesion of their experience.  From the moment they arrived, they were immersed in a magical British Secret Garden, through three floors of custom-build boxwood garden features, hosted by the Secret Garden Girls, customized signage using the event branding, and an actual maze with a secret center, everywhere guests went featured something new that perfectly carried the theme across all 106,000 square feet.  

And what impacted those executives from headquarters?  Taking in the whole production, Joe Eberhardt, President of JLR United States, stated, “I wish all of our dealers in the US produced events like this.”  While Wolfgang Hoffman, President of JLR Canada was heard remarking on such attention to detail as using the same scissors as opened the dealership’s original building 50 years ago to cut the green ribbon, “You nailed it!  World Class!” Resilience rules again!

Documentation

Photos: https://www.brightideasevents.com/project/british-secret-garden/

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3OrYoOOJEM

Blog: https://www.brightideasevents.com/news/bright-ideas-blog/summer-event-study-resilience/

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