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May 23, 2016: Hollywood Studios to Take Over VidCon, How Sponsors Doubled the Size of Vulture Festival, Best Western Launches Virtual Reality Marketing Effort

1. HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS TO TAKE OVER VIDCON: For the first time, online video creator and YouTube personality fan convention VidCon is slated to have a major Hollywood presence. Organizers of the sixth annual convention, slated for June 23-25 at Anaheim Convention Center, say it will attract around 30,000 people who will get to witness new exhibits and sponsor activations from studios including Netflix, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. Notable activations will include movie promotional stunts, including one for the upcoming Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The New York Times: “In many ways, VidCon is a younger version of Comic-Con International, the pop culture bacchanal attended by more than 130,000 people each summer in San Diego. Comic-Con has long been a powerful tool for movie and television marketers because it gives them one-stop access to Generation X fans. With its emphasis on YouTube personalities, VidCon serves up the millennial and postmillennial equivalent. The VidCon audience, which tends to be more female than male, is one that ‘advertisers are finding more and more difficult to reach through traditional marketing channels,’ said Brent Weinstein, the head of digital media at United Talent Agency, which handles VidCon sponsorships. Television is losing its effect; millennials and post-millennials consume programming from video-on-demand services. In fact, studies have shown that this demographic tunes out anything that looks like a traditional ad, online or otherwise. But they do pay attention to their Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook feeds. By placing a product — movie, lipstick, candy bar, doodad — directly in front of the socially voracious VidCon swarms, marketers can sometimes create meaningful digital chatter that stretches far beyond the convention hall.” 

2. HOW SPONSORS DOUBLED THE SIZE OF VULTURE FESTIVAL: Live events have become a major revenue source for magazines including Cosmopolitan, Essence, and New York, the latter of which had its third annual Vulture Festival this past weekend. A huge sponsor presence nearly doubled the size of this year’s pop culture-centric festival, which featured 34 events that included TV show panels, live podcast tapings, and screenings. Companies including first-time sponsor DirecTV saw the event as an opportunity to reach out to cultured millennials. Adweek: “This also marks New York Media's largest advertiser push to date around the festival, which resulted in companies like DirecTV, TNT, Hulu, Citi and Casper all signing on to sponsor experiential activations, panels, parties, digital coverage and more. ‘This was the first year that we've actually gone out there with a dedicated sponsor effort,’ said publisher Larry Burstein, who last year hired the company's first-ever director of sponsorship sales, Daniel Jasper, to help oversee the events business. ‘Because there's a lot about the festival that's new and different, we made the decision to move it away from the media value add for the first time,’ Burstein added. … Looking ahead, Burstein plans to explore an expansion into more Vulture events—and perhaps even festivals outside of New York. ‘Vulture has really become its own brand outside of New York magazine,’ he said. ‘We see a lot of potential there.’

3. BEST WESTERN LAUNCHES VIRTUAL REALITY MARKETING EFFORT: Many hospitality brands are enticing prospective hotel guests with original virtual reality experiences, and Best Western Hotels & Resorts is the latest to jump on the bandwagon in a new marketing effort. The brand has announced that all 2,200 of its hotels in North America will have an experience that will alllow people to virtually tour rooms, amenities, and lobbies before arrival. Skift: “Phoenix-based Best Western has been working with Google Street View to develop this product for the past three years, gathering some 1.7 million photos of its North American properties. With Google Street View, Best Western has taken those photos and added customized narration and music to them to create 360-degree videos that transform into VR when viewed with a headset device like Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and the like. The videos will be made available on platforms that include Google Maps, Google Search, YouTube, and Facebook. The Best Western Virtual Reality Experience is just one piece of the 70-year-old company’s overall, $2-billion-plus effort to reach new audiences and present a new, refreshed image for its hotels, what Dorothy Dowling, Best Western CMO summarized as ‘re-architecting’” It’ll also be promoted heavily this summer when the brand debuts a new advertising campaign.”


BOSTON:  BeerAdvocate's inaugural MicroBrew Invitational will take place June 3-4 at Seaport World Trade Center. The event will feature more than 70 microbrewers serving more than 250 beers, ciders, meads, and more.

CHICAGO:  Chicago Pride Fest will take place June 18-19. Performers will include Jordin Sparks, Daya, and Dumblonde.

DALLAS:  Canopy by Hilton will open a 150-room hotel, Canopy Dallas, Uptown, in fall 2017.

LAS VEGAS:  Wynn Las Vegas has appointed Kelly Moloney as the general manager of Sinatra restaurant at Encore.

Tivoli Village has appointed Curt Fickeisen as general manager and Heather FitzGerald as director of brand management.

LOS ANGELES:  The seventh annual "Big Fighters, Big Cause" charity boxing event, which benefits the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation, takes place Wednesday at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland.

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade will host the 10th anniversary of its annual black-tie “Wild About Kids” gala on November 12 at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne. More than 450 guests are expected to attend.

NEW YORK:  Mediterranean restaurant Café Medi is slated to open at the Hotel on Rivington this summer. Eater:

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

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Nine18, the restaurant at the Villas of Grand Cypress, will launch a new menu June 1 that is focused on Latin and Spanish influences. New items include a grilled baby octopus salad, bronzed diver scallops, and jumbo lump crab cake. The restaurant has seating for 90 people or can hold 150 for a reception.

PHILADELPHIA:  The Baygada Regatta, a rowing competition for athletes with physical disabilities, will take place August 13 at St. Joseph's University Boathouse on the Schuylkill River.

SAN FRANCISCO:  Architecture and the City, the largest architectural and design festival in the U.S., will take place September 1-30. The event, sponsored by AIA San Francisco, will feature architectural tours, film screenings, home shows, and more.

TORONTO:  Mezcal bar El Rey is now open in Kensington Market. blogTO:

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Trigger Agency has taken over management of Vintage Virginia, a wine and food festival from the Virginia Wineries Association. The event takes place June 4-5 at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, Virginia.

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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