BEST OF 2008

Home Maker

Jessica Meisels launched the Malibu beach house marketing pop-up, a format she kept alive this summer in the face of legislative challenges.

By Shilpa Gopinath November 24, 2008, 8:00 AM EST

Fingerprint Communications owner Jessica Meisels

Photo: Alen Lin for BizBash

Problem: Fingerprint Communications owner Jessica Meisels is rightly credited with birthing the trend of the Malibu summer beach house pop-up in 2006, when the L.A.-based firm produced and publicized a Polaroid-branded property on the coast. The corporate-sponsored house hosted events for two summers, while a half dozen or so other brands rented nearby properties to piggyback on the idea and the buzz it created among local influencers and international press. Then a Malibu ordinance limiting commercial events at private residences to four per year—a response to complaints from locals about the traffic, paparazzi, and other nuisances created by the events—threatened the concept this past summer.

Solution: Meisels found a four-acre cliffside house overlooking the ocean, a space buffered from neighbors and gawkers by the sheer size of its property. She nixed the title sponsor, instead calling the space the Project Beach House and bringing in a variety of partners. “Malibu publicly announced an order—which has always been in existence—that all properties that have more than 100 people must get a permit. It was something that was very much publicized last year,” she says. “We have abided by all Malibu laws; we got permits for every event, and we had city monitors on property. The city knows we’re not an out-of-control party house. We moved the location to create a safer atmosphere, [where] the paparazzi couldn’t get to us. Once people were in, it was a safe environment.”

Outcome: Fingerprint reports it garnered more than 170 million media impressions for its Lia Sophia clambake and 150 million for the LnA Fourth of July party at the house.

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