By Anna Sekula Posted August 2, 2011, 1:13 PM EDT
NEW YORK In another example of how the smaller cable television networks are getting more creative with their marketing efforts, Oxygen gathered a small group of media buyers and clients for what it called a “pop-up party” at Bergdorf Goodman's John Barrett salon on Wednesday. Hosted as a way for executives to engage advertisers outside May's Upfront Week, the event was also designed to promote a specific show—the channel's hairstyling reality competition Hair Battle Spectacular. To that end, Oxygen provided complimentary blowouts, braiding—apparently the hot summer hair trend—and makeup touch-ups amid passed hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and networking.
“We are always evolving our marketing efforts to keep the trade abreast of our shows. Our goal with these [pop-up party] events was to create an umbrella brand to bring together the different kinds of events we do for our clients through the year, including styling events, blowouts and braids, and slumber parties,” said Puja Vohra, vice president of ad sales marketing for Oxygen Media, who added that the network is planning to host at least two more pop-up parties this year, in New York and Los Angeles. “We love the name 'pop-up party' because it's so on brand for Oxygen—young, fun, and current, very 'Generation O.'”
To keep the event lighthearted but still tied to the show, producer Jason Wanderer of Precision Event Group added a number of whimsical design elements to the salon. Atop cocktail tables dotted around the space, Wanderer positioned sculptural floral arrangements shaped to look like mannequin heads with over-the-top hairstyles, and female waitstaff sported feathered hairpieces. The production crew also swapped out the salon's artwork with framed photographs from the show and placed iPads set to Hair Battle Spectacular's dedicated site in docks on the wall.
There was also some subtle branding incorporated into the decor. A custom, three-dimensional sign for the pop-up party sat on the reception desk, napkins came printed with phrases like “Who knows where we'll pop up next!” and the white trays used by caterer Creative Edge had circular cutouts and the Oxygen logo printed on them.
Designed for no more than 30 to 40 guests, the pop-up parties are small affairs, but the concept doesn't mean Oxygen is looking to downsize its events. “We have and will continue to host big events like the Russell Simmons launch event at Lavo in New York and the Paris Hilton premiere party at the Tropicana in L.A.,” said Vohra. “The pop-up parties are intimate, experiential, and fun, and allow us to take over unexpected locations to bring a different dimension to our trade marketing efforts.”