By Anna Sekula Posted April 24, 2012, 4:21 PM EDT
With the city in the thick of upfront season, the month has already been packed with a slew of formal events from TV networks. But the Thursday-night Univision Deportes Network launch party was anything but stuffy, with guests in suits sitting at picnic tables, drinking cans of beer pulled from a cooler, and snacking on tacos served out of old VW buses. For the Spanish-language media company's new all-sports network, the gathering at Industria Superstudio was intentionally designed to be low-key, with a concept culled from Hispanic soccer-viewing parties.
“The inspiration for the event started within our ad sales marketing team,” said Amy Caplan, vice president of ad sales marketing for Univision Communications. “It was a funny brainstorm, because we actually started the conversation talking about what we didn't want to do—the expected corporate party at a restaurant. We knew that type of party wouldn't fit the mold of Univision Deportes Network.” When someone mentioned the food and atmosphere of Tacombi, a casual Mexican taqueria in NoLIta, it provided what Caplan called “the spark we needed.” From that idea, Univision built what it came to term a “tailgate-chic” experience, with soccer players showing off tricks, a Batucada drum band from Brazil, and La Newyorkina's paletas (Mexican fruit Popsicles) served from a street cart.
To execute this vision, Caplan tapped Markus Daly Ryan, providing the producers with a mood board of imagery: photos of picnic tables, umbrellas, wooden tequila bars, and pitchers of sangria. In turn, the experiential marketing agency looked to Mexico as well as Central and South America to find authentic references to draw from. For the decor, that meant furnishing the space with found pieces and painting and reupholstering them in the Univision color palette of purple, green, pale blue, and red. The team also placed plants in cinder blocks strewn throughout the space—to give the affair the look of a unkempt neighborhood lot—and even made a string of flags to hang overhead by using old clothesline and fabric sourced from a flea market.
Entertainment played a big role too: DJ Ari Why spun old-school salsa and Buena Vista Social Club tunes, and, following brief remarks from Univision's senior vice president of sports sales, Carlos Deschapelles, a flash mob of Manhattan Samba drummers and dancers in colorful costumes made their way into the space.