February 24, 2014: The Surprise at the Olympics Closing Ceremony, Why Experience Marketing Is Failing, the Problem With Live Concert Streaming

By Beth Kormanik February 24, 2014, 8:05 AM EST

1. THE SURPRISE AT THE OLYMPICS CLOSING CEREMONY: You would think the Olympics Closing Ceremony would have been planned and practiced weeks if not months ahead of time. But the Sochi organizers proved they can adapt on the fly, adding an element that referenced the opening ceremony, when one of the lighted Olympic rings malfunctioned. This time, the ring of people did expand, completing the insignia. Other elements went on as planned. New York Times: “The ceremony Sunday was often loud, sometimes elegant, sometimes flashy, sometimes bewildering. It opened with an excerpt from Mussorgsky’s lovely 'Pictures at an Exhibition'; featured a children’s choir whose members were drawn from all over Russia; starred a giddy crowd of postcompetition Olympic athletes from various countries, rushing in all at once; and hustled people on and off the stage so rapidly that it was sometimes hard to catch why they had been there at all.”

2. WHY EXPERIENCE MARKETING IS FAILING: From branded pop-up lounges at events to massive installations like the Super Bowl’s Bud Light Hotel, experiences have become a popular but misguided marketing strategy, argues  Andrew Kessler, founder and C.E.O. of event marketing company Togather. Mediabistro: “Too often with 'experience marketing,' the consumer’s 'action' is overwhelmingly focused on the experience itself—an inevitable consequence of investing heavily in a dazzling physical installation. Every real-world experience should instead be designed around helping consumers take action on something that matters to them. Otherwise, there’s a missed opportunity during the event, and thereafter: what kind of meaningful action could a consumer take after such lost engagement? It’s clearly a lose-lose.”

3. THE PROBLEM WITH LIVE CONCERT STREAMING: In a world where we live on our smartphones and Internet access feels like a basic right, live concert streaming should be more popular than it is. But companies are still trying to figure out how to make it profitable. Billboard: “For 15 years, artists and tech companies have been playing up concert video-streaming as an untapped business model, the next big thing for online music. But it happens only sporadically, usually with big events such as 2005's Live 8, 2012's Paul McCartney concert on Apple TV and annual festivals such as Bonnaroo and Coachella. … Numerous companies are still in the space—including Bulldog, StageIt, Yahoo! (which purchased startup EvntLive in December), AEG and Vevo—but most focus on snippets of live content or individual events that make more sense than tours.”


BALTIMORE:  The Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association's 25th annual “Stars of the Industry” award luncheon is March 4 at the Grand Historic Venue; an Allied Member trade show will precede the event. More than 250 guests are expected to attend.

BOSTON:  Event designer Bryan Rafanelli is raising money to run in this year's Boston Marathon as part of the Mass General Hospital for Children Pediatric Hematology and Oncology team.

CHICAGO:  The Alliance Francaise Woman's Board will host is biennial gala at the Ritz-Carlton hotel on May 10. The theme is “Red Carpet at the Monte Carlo Casino." 

DALLAS:  Active Network Business Solutions, which provides event marketing and strategic meetings management technology, has merged with Lanyon, which offers transient hotel program technology. The combined company will operate under the name Lanyon.

LAS VEGAS:  MGM Resorts International has teamed up with Ultimate Fighting Championship to offer V.I.P. experiences to members of M life, MGM Resorts’ loyalty rewards program. Members will have access to U.F.C. parties, fighter meet and greets, and more.

LOS ANGELES:  Digital Entertainment World, an event for executives focused on monetizing digital content, held its inaugural conference last week at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The event, organized by IDG World Expo and Digital Media Wire, announced next year’s conference, which will be held in Los Angeles February 10-12.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Les Dames D’Escoffier Miami will present its annual Tropical Brunch in the Garden March 9 at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. The event includes sampling from restaurants and gourmet shops as well as cooking demonstrations.

NEW YORK:  Randall's Island Park Alliance will host the 2014 Fielding Dreams NYC Gala Dinner at the American Museum of Natural History on March 11. The night's honorees include Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, Nike, and alliance founder Karen D. Cohen. About 600 guests are expected to attend.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  Disney is adding a fifth weekend to its annual Star Wars Weekends event. The fan gatherings will take place every Friday through Sunday from May 16-June 15.

TORONTO:  The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation presented the Outdoor Adventure Show this weekend at the International Centre in Mississauga.

WASHINGTON:  CSI-Capitol Services has been chosen as the in-house DMC at the Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, which is scheduled to open May 1.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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