Case Study in Optimism: [hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something]
Event: Wild Wild West
Objective: Create a unique environment where business colleagues could socialize, feel valued, share a few laughs and be recognized for their contribution to the industry
Result: Guests were transported into another time frame and allowed to imagine life in the Wild West
This event was held in a train station in Vancouver, BC, Canada for 175 guests. Optimism played a huge part in this event. Most people said it couldn’t be done, but we knew that with our courage and resilience, it could.
A unique western town was constructed where guests could roam throughout the town and socialize. The event space was divided into three décor and activity zones, so that it was like having three events in one. Zone 1 offered Food & Beverages, Zone 2 hosted the Saloon (bar & gambling) & Zone 3 showcased the Awards Theatre.
- Interesting registration backdrop (Sherriff’s office)
- Backdrops were 3D, functional and offered unique seating (on porches and verandas)
- Yellow fresh sunflowers in cowboy boots and milk pails tied with natural raffia
- Event staff in denim shirts, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, bandanas
- Signage was consistent and contained the event brand (brown cowboy boot with rope)
- Saloon doors were a great segway from one zone into another
- Saloon bar was an actual décor piece but was functional too
- Western Caricaturist drew electronic coloured caricatures on Western posters
- Saloon Girls and Honky Tonk Pianist added to the festive flavour
- Virtual western games such as Western Wii and The Shootin’ Gallery were interactive
- Casino Dealers wore theme costumes of derby hats, bolo ties and arm bands
- Theatre Royale Box Office offered an interesting entrance to the awards setting
- Theatre Royale stage offered a taste of the ol’ west with the velour drapes & imagery
- MC was a good visual in his over the top yellow foam cowboy hat and western attire
The event was so successful because we were able to merge the feel of the Wild West with a modern style, western setting without losing the authenticity. Optimism for the WIN!
1. What were the objectives of this event and how where they met?
Each year the client hosts the event with a theme that is elaborate, unique and lends itself to interaction that encourages mingling and socializing. The objectives were as follows:
Objective #1: Create a theme environment that encourages socializing.
Solution – A unique western town was constructed where guests could roam throughout the town and socialize. The saloon encouraged networking and mingling, as guests played the casino. We also included virtual western games such as Western Wii and The Shootin’ Gallery which encouraged socializing.
Objective #2: Thank alliances in a unique awards setting that strengthens relationships, while simultaneously reinforces the company’s core values.
Solution – Guests were invited into an old Fashioned Theatre (complete with fresh popcorn) where winning recipients were called up on stage by a spoof “Cowboy MC” and were awarded their recognition plaques.
Objective #3: Include multiple reminders of “green practices,” integrating many methods of demonstrating to guests and employees alike that even in the production of their high quality event, green practices are in place.
Solution – We implemented the following: used energy-reducing lighting and electronic equipment, included sustainable-food menus, utilized recycled products wherever possible, free-parking to those who carpool to the event, E-notices or use of 100% post consumable paper on any printed materials.
2. What noteworthy challenges arose and how where they meet?
Challenge #1: Due to the extensive western décor being constructed on site, the event decorator required 2 days to install and set up the western backdrops and décor. The lighting company would not come in one day early and was going to charge us another day rental fee which was costly and not in our budget. The challenge was that our lighting design required scissor lifts to be stationed right in the middle of the western town where the saloon façade was being erected.
Solution – The day before the event we had to redesign the entire lighting plan to accommodate the construction of the western town, mainly the Saloon. This was achieved by using smaller trusses and smaller scissor lifts that would fit around the various backdrops, buffets and décor items. Also, to achieve other lighting requests, floor model light stands were erected to shine on the various backdrops to provide light which was previously scheduled to be provided by the overhead truss system.
Challenge #2: Seamlessly integrate modern casino games with an old fashioned Wild West atmosphere.
Solution – We decided to enclose the gambling area inside the Saloon which was a great decision. The Saloon façade was extremely large and acted as an anchor to the western town street. The façade had operational swinging doors and inside the saloon we erected a 30’ long actual saloon bar complete with a mirrored backing to hold alcohol bottles. Another way we integrated the modern casino with the Wild West was to dress the professional dealers in Wild West costumes of derby hats, bolo ties and arm bands so that they gave the impression of being part of the old fashioned western town. Our optimism of successfully combining the old world with the new worked like a charm!
Challenge #3: Design a unique décor stage setting for awarding alliances and keep it a surprise until a few minutes before the awards portion of the evening.
Solution – We decided to design an old fashioned Theatre Royale stage setting complete with gold velvet curtains and the old west imagery on the wooden backdrop. The Theatre Box Office entrance was one of the town facades. We kept this theatre “box office” closed until 15 minutes before the awards show. When the box office opened, we started to pop popcorn and the aroma enticed the guests to see what was playing in the theatre. It worked marvellously!
3. How was the event unique, distinctive and professionally executed? Give specific examples
The event was unique because of the design and erection of an actual western town complete with shops such as the Blacksmith Shop, Church, Bank, Hotel, etc. As evening fell upon the event, we turned the lights on behind the façade so that it appeared that there was some sort of activity going on inside the various shops. Small seating areas were positioned in front of facades, so that guests could sit on the porches & verandas and enjoy the western cuisine.
The event was distinctive because we took the Wild West theme and integrated the décor, activities and awards setting into a flowing “old meets new western” environment. The backdrops were functional, which was unique, the Saloon contained a life sized functioning Saloon bar was distinctive and impressive and the Theatre Royale Box Office façade and stage, offered a surprise, unique awards setting.
The event was professionally executed due to meticulous planning and a careful thought process into the event objectives that were to be met through the creative décor design. Many guests commented that the western town was so interesting that it gave them something to talk about. The Saloon décor with swinging doors and Saloon Girls offered a playful environment as guests left the food and beverage area and entered into the dark, smouldering environment of a Saloon complete with gambling station and old fashioned dealers. And finally, the concealment of the Theatre with the functional Box Office located in the town street ensured that the guests were continually amazed and engaged, wondering what was going to happen next.
4. How does the event demonstrate value for the budget spent?
This client appreciation event was like having three-events-in-one. There was the initial section of the western town which contained registration, food and the majority of the town shops with quiet seating areas for conversation. Then there was the second section of the event which was the Saloon area which acted as an upbeat lively activity section where guests interacted and mingled in a fun, competitive environment. And lastly, there was the third section that was designed for client recognition and appreciation, which was one of the main purposes for the event.
The objectives for the event were to create a fun, unique environment where business colleagues could socialize, feel valued, share a few laughs and be recognized for their contribution to the industry. With a bit of Optimism and a sprinkling of our “Bright Ideas”, we transported guests into another time frame and allowed them to imagine life in the Wild Wild West!