BOSTON On July 27, Boston magazine feted the winners of its “Best of Boston” issue at a 1,300-guest event at Massport's Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. With 328 winners in categories ranging from Best Raw Bar to Best Day Spa, the August glossy contains “one of the biggest 'Best of Boston' lists in magazine history,” said marketing director Jessica Sousa. “The party is a big celebration of our winners and the outstanding work they do. We don't ask them to do anything at the event other than come and celebrate. We want the winners to feel very special.”
Toward that end, planners employed prominent signage that called the winners out. “This year, we created five nine-foot double-sided window clings that listed all of the winners in a larger-than-life format, so everyone could walk up to the display, point out their award, and have their picture taken with it,” Sousa said. Each honoree was also given a “winner” lanyard at check-in. “They can wear it during the party, and people come up and congratulate them, and start chatting about their award,” Sousa said.
In addition to congratulating winners, the soiree gave print advertisers an opportunity to engage guests. “This year we really blew out the sponsorship activation,” Sousa said. “We had seven sponsors, and each one had their own unique area at the party. I'm always amazed at how creative these huge brands are when it comes to on-site events. They bring a whole new element of engagement and interactivity that the guests anticipate year to year, and it's one of the things that Best of Boston is recognized for: the pure fun and excitement.”
JetBlue had a lounge stocked with cushy airplane seats and snacks in its signature hue, including Terra blue potato chips and blueberry-filled desserts. Infiniti had model vehicles on site, and Patrón doled out fruity specialty drinks. Stella Artois, the beer sponsor, had bars stationed throughout the event.
According to Sousa, the most challenging part of the planning process was managing the guest list. “We have a small marketing and event team, and the requests come barreling in from all directions,” she said. “Keeping track of the names and the last-minute requests is a full-time job in itself. Everyone wants to come to this party, and we want to keep it private and exclusive. Telling people no is really hard, but we have to do it sometimes.” Ultimately, the crowd included media, advertisers, local celebrities and socialites, and the magazine's editorial staff and contributors.