Fashionably Late: Four After-Party Strategies Worth Stealing
June 13, 2018 | B2C
After-party strategies have cropped up as an effective way for brands to reinforce messaging from their main event. Millennials and old school R&B fans may recall that, “after the show it’s the after-party,” but who knew the lyric would end up referencing a viable brand strategy? All (terrible) music references aside, the after-party has as an effective way for brands to reinforce messaging from their main event, foster more intimate networking and offer attendees a chance to relax and blow off some steam. From sponsoring post-awards show soirees to hosting evening events for conference-goers, brands are finding creative ways to make use of these late-night interactions. Here, four after-party strategies worth stealing.
With plenty of skin in the Golden Globes game (the streaming service was nominated for nine awards), Netflix hosted a swanky post-awards event at the new Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills. The experience was dripping in the brand’s signature blood-red color scheme from start to finish, reminding attendees of exactly who was providing the luxurious experience.
After checking in, guests were guided by a bellboy specially hired for the event to an elevator featuring a red branded carpet, which transported them to the event. Upon entering, ladies could ease their aching feet by swapping their stilettos for complimentary slippers at the on-site shoe valet. Guests were also greeted with a branded wall where mysterious hands popped out to deliver glasses of wine. The experience also included upscale fare and cocktails, a packed dance floor and, of course, celebrities at every turn.
Each year, designers, filmmakers, graphic artists and other right-brained professionals from around the world unite at Adobe MAX, the tech giant’s creativity conference. And while the main event is a showstopper in its own right, Adobe BASH, a celebratory after-hours experience, has become one of the conference’s biggest draws. It’s an evening filled with mind-blowing art installations, live performances, curated fare and plenty of opportunities for attendees to interact. The experience not only reinforces the themes behind MAX, but specifically appeals to the creative audience through its array of avant-garde engagements. “We’re always surprised by how people interact with things once we put them together,” says Jennifer Heaton, senior group event marketing manager at Adobe and head organizer of the BASH. “The attendees like to get hands-on and leave their mark.”
Alexander Wang had one of the best after-party strategies. He is renowned for his over-the-top New York Fashion Week after-party, #WANGFEST. The event is an opportunity for Wang to boost his brand and highlight new partnerships—and it’s executed in a way that only an eccentric fashion designer could pull off. For #WANGFEST Spring/Summer 2017 at Pier 94, Wang touted his Adidas partnership. Upon arriving at the event, attendees were met with a traffic sign that flashed phrases like #wangfest, along with a phone number that, when dialed, offered information about a pop-up truck that would be selling exclusive merchandise from the Wang/Adidas collaboration before they hit store shelves.
There was also an on-site pop-up shop selling merchandise from the collection, which was delivered to shoppers in a black, branded garbage bag to underscore the event’s “trashy but cool” vibe. To that end, additional touchpoints included two 7-Eleven trucks—one stocked with shelves of candy, and one serving up Slurpees with straws that doubled as glow sticks—as well as spray-painted Lexus SUVs, a classic claw machine game featuring Nars beauty products and plenty of McDonald’s meals for noshing on. Talk about after-party strategies!
When Brie Larson’s comedy about a girl who doesn’t want to grow up, “Unicorn Store,” debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, Nespresso found the perfect way to sponsor a post-premiere celebration: create an actual unicorn store. Taking its cues from the whimsical storyline, the brand skipped over the typical nightclub vibe most after-parties take on and staged its experience at an intimate gay bar. The venue was, of course, decked out in all the colors of the rainbow and included a doughnut wall, confetti blasters, a cocktail that “looked and tasted like a Unicorn Store in an glass,” a Nespresso coffee bar manned by latte artist Barista Brian and cheesy kale chips handed out at the door (an inside joke from the film). It was a clever way to not only reinforce the film’s Peter Pan-esque theme, but also to show the playful side of Nespresso’s personality.
Not every event requires an after-party—in fact, in some cases, it may even detract from the main experience. But executed the right way at the right time, after-party strategies can offer added value for attendees and help drive home key concepts in way that feels less buttoned-up, often paving the way for more intimate interactions. Just make sure you’ve got some caffeine on-hand to keep that late-night vibe flowing.
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