May 23, 2018: Viacom Expands Its Slate of Live Events, White Woman’s Police Call Leads to Massive Barbecue, Cannes Lions Organizers Release "Kit" For C.F.O.s to Give Employees Approval to Attend

1. VIACOM EXPANDS ITS SLATE OF LIVE EVENTS: Viacom is launching three new events next month—Nickelodeon SlimeFest, a 30th anniversary concert for Yo! MTV Raps, and its first-ever VidCon—highlighting the cable channel owner's newfound investment in live experiences. Digiday: "Those events join the BET Experience, a three-day event in Los Angeles that attracted over 130,000 people last year; and Comedy Central’s Clusterfest, with performances by comedians including John Mulaney and Jon Stewart, and artists including Wu-Tang Clan. Overall, the number of events Viacom brands will throw during the 2018 fiscal year will increase 135 percent year over year. Events represent a small share of Viacom’s revenue, which totaled over $3.15 billion in its most recent quarterly earnings. It’s reported as part of ancillary revenues, which also include merchandise, and accounted for $168 million during the same period, with strong year-over-year growth both domestically (26 percent) and abroad (36 percent). Viacom expects its event revenues to nearly double in 2018, and it projects 'strong, double-digit' growth in 2019 as well. Events also draw a big crowd: More than 2 million people attended a Viacom-branded event in 2017, a 54 percent increase from 2016 and a total the company expects to grow this year. 'This is a healthily growing business,' said Jason Jordan, evp of multiplatform strategy and operations at Viacom. 'From [CEO] Bob [Bakish] on down, we’re committed to our live events strategy.' Jordan said events offer more access to the talent it needs for programming, whether it’s established stars or up-and-coming YouTubers who flock to VidCon."

2. WHITE WOMAN€�S POLICE CALL LEADS TO MASSIVE BARBECUE: Hundreds of people in Oakland, California, on Sunday showed up to Lake Merritt for last-minute barbecue and dance party, “BBQing While Black.” The event was held in response to what many perceived as a racist incident. The New York Times: “‘It was epic,’ Logan Cortez, an Oakland schoolteacher and an organizer of the event, said. ‘It was a sea of love and blackness and food and fun.’ The event, which drew hundreds of visitors from around the Bay, was held in the wake of an episode on April 29, in which a white woman harangued two African-American men for grilling at the lake and called the police on them. The police arrived and spoke to the woman, who had claimed it was illegal for the men to use a charcoal grill in the area. There were no arrests. But the video, which was viewed more than two million times on YouTube, ignited a debate about racism in Oakland, where gentrification has displaced many African-Americans who grew up there. … For many in Oakland, Sunday’s barbecue was a reminder of days gone by, when the city hosted the Festival at the Lake in the 1980s and 1990s for a celebration of Oakland arts, music and culture. The festival was discontinued in 1997 because of budget cuts, concerns about public safety and low attendance. ‘A lot of elders came up to me and said, you made me feel like it was the 1990s again,’ said Jhamel Robinson, a graphic designer who was one of the organizers of the event.”

3. CANNES LIONS ORGANIZERS RELEASE "KIT" FOR C.F.O.S TO GIVE EMPLOYEES APPROVAL TO ATTEND: In an effort to help employees get approval to attend next month’s Cannes International Festival of Creativity, the advertising festival has released a “Convince the C.F.O.” kit that includes a written letter and “budget-holder friendly week plan.” Advertising Age: “‘We don't ever meet people who don't want to go to Cannes Lions, but as with any investment you have to form a case to attend to those who are the budget holders,’ Clare Hill, Cannes Lions' director of marketing and brand, wrote in an email. She said the kit went up earlier this month, aligned to the festival's ‘key delegate booking period.’ The kit, Hill said, has had over 500 downloads, and that ‘even some of the world's global CMOs have downloaded it. Each year, over 1,000 delegates who are under 30 years old attend the festival and we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to invest in their future talent.’ She added the kit wasn't released for attendance-related reasons and said it has always been in the marketing plan, along with its ‘Brand Quiz’ and ‘#askDroga’ initiatives. Other conferences, including Collision, offer materials for potential attendees to offer their bosses in hopes of attending. Cannes announced a slate of changes for the festival in November following backlash from agencies and holding companies saying it had gotten too expensive. The ‘Convince the CFO’ kit's ready-made letter, intended to be signed by someone seeking to go to the festival, defends against costliness: ‘I’m aware that last year there were murmurings about the festival becoming too expensive, but I can reassure you on that score,’ the letter reads. ‘Cannes Lions has significantly trimmed the costs of attending this year, and the cost of a complete delegate pass has been cut by 900 euros. The festival has also worked with the city of Cannes to freeze hotel prices from last year and establish fixed-price menus at more than 50 restaurants.’”


P.C.M.A.’s Ascent C.E.O. Promise pledge will have 100 signatures by the end of May, according to P.C.M.A. president and C.E.O. Sherrif Karamat. The pledge, which was unveiled at IMEX Frankfurt, aims to create more inclusive events and workplaces. 

Brand USA has partnered with Marriott and American Airlines to host the first-ever Mega Media Venture, which will invite more than 50 journalists from 50 publications to visit the United States. Press release:


COAST TO COAST:  BIG3—the professional three-on-three basketball league founded by Ice Cube that features former N.B.A. players—and Adidas have launched Young3, a youth basketball initiative that will host three-on-three tournaments and skills clinics for children ages 7 to 14 in cities during the league's 2018 season. Young3 tournaments will take place the day before BIG3’s Friday games in Houston, Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, Toronto, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and Brooklyn. The first Young3 tournament will take place June 21 in Houston.

BOSTON:  Destination and event management company C.S.I. D.M.C., Inc., has acquired Boston-based destination management firm D.P.I. Events.

CHICAGO:  Union League Boys & Girls Clubs’s 21st annual Wine Dinner benefit will take place June 8 at Union League Club of Chicago. 

Located an hour outside of Chicago in Michigan City, Indiana, the Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa has announced plans to add 15,000 square feet of meeting and event space by fall of 2019. After the expansion, the venue will have more than 45,000 square feet of rentable space.

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  Experiential marketing agency George P. Johnson has named Ken Madden senior vice president of digital engagement. 

LAS VEGAS:  Bazaar Meat by José Andrés at SLS Las Vegas will host its first-ever Bazaar on the Roof outdoor food and drink festival at Retro Pool Lounge on June 22. 

LOS ANGELES:  The inaugural Rosé Day LA will take place June 9 at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu. The daytime picnic will have local gourmet food trucks hand-selected by Iron Chef Marc Forgione, plus a special rosé-inspired menu. The event will be produced by a mix of production and hospitality-industry veterans, including Forgione; Ben Biscotti of 1iota Productions; Tony Schubert of Event Eleven; Bobby Rossi of Bungalow 8 and Rec Room; and Sylvain Bitton, JT Torregiani, and David Jarret of Warwick. Event sponsors include Moêt & Chandon, B.B. Rosé, and Voss Water, as well as charity partner the Art of Elysium. For tickets, visit

The new Mayfair Hotel has named Peter Kolla general manager.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  Long Island Marine Purification Initiative’s summer fund-raiser will take place August 11 at the Crow’s Nest in Montauk. An after-party will take place at the Surf Lodge. 

Japanese chef Sota Atsumi and Parisian bread maker Shinaya Inagaki have begun a residency at Chefs Club New York. The residency is a preview of Atsumi’s upcoming Paris restaurant Maison. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT:  Etouches, an event management software solutions company, is now selling its Loopd smart tags and mobile event apps on a new online store, and on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

SAN FRANCISCO:  The Outside Lands music festival will take place August 10-12 at Golden Gate Park. The event will highlight 83 local restaurants, 41 wineries, and 30 breweries.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Capital Pride Heroes Gala will take place June 7 at 880 P. 

The fifth annual All Things Go Fall Classic music and food festival will take place October 6-7 at Union Market. Headliners will include Carly Rae Jepsen, Betty Who, and Børns.

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Deirdre Jahn in New York.

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