LOS ANGELES—Danish skincare brand Ole Henriksen’s new night treatment is playfully named “Dewtopia”—so for its launch event on July 20, Gladiator Productions was instantly inspired to build a colorful, mystical world inspired by the product name.
“We were just obsessed with the name, and said ‘There is only one way to do this, and that is to create the Land of Dewtopia,’” recalled Seth Dolan, Gladiator Productions' founder and chief creative officer, noting that the gathering—a colorful, fantasy-filled world built inside an outdoor film studio in the Southern California desert—was pulled together in just five weeks. The ambitious undertaking featured 22 unique experiences, each of which showcased different aspects of the new products and brought to life the benefits of the night treatment.
“[The client] asked that it be super experiential and that attendees could wander at their leisure and find different ways to interact and not get bored," continued Dolan. "So once we secured the venue, it was like building a Disneyland map. We ideated the experiences and mapped them simultaneously until there was a description of every single element [of the product]. Then it was just a matter of dividing and conquering among the Gladiator team to make sure each one was accomplished.”
To create a fully immersive experience, the event’s invitees—primarily social media influencers, who were not told in advance where they were headed—were flown to Littlerock, Calif., on a private jet that was decked out with custom-designed Dewtopia branding. Upon arrival, guests were greeted by costumed actors—aka, inhabitants of the Land of Dewtopia—who guided them through the whimsical world.
“We wanted to blend inspiration of the product itself, as well as the overnight campaign and the mystical vibe of the name,” said Dolan. “The campaign the brand did was very starry and nodded to the overnight treatment, so we knew that had to be a big play. We also wanted the guests to have no idea where they were going.”
The exterior of the venue was purposely left unfinished, adding to the mystery as attendees arrived. A character named “Stale Sally” guided them inside and handed them a drink—and then, said Dolan, “they fell into Dewtopia. And from there, every moment was something. As you walked in, there was a glowing portal and we actually used founder Ole Henriksen’s voice in a custom audio track to lure them under a glowing path as a merman in a fountain (nodding to the product’s amazing moisture infusion) brought them through.”
Also in the space were a variety of themed bars with cocktails from Sunset Boulevardier, including one with UV-reactive drinks that glowed under UV light, a nod to the overnight repair capabilities of the treatment, and another themed around the brand’s spa heritage. (Speaking of which, there was also a mini-spa where guests could get a Dewtopia facial.) There was also an on-site DJ and a dance floor, immersive lighting effects and projection mapping from 512 Creative, plenty of photo ops, and a giant, 200-foot-long and 30-foot-high Cyc that was mapped with custom-developed content that changed throughout the evening. Tribal Scenery was the event’s scenic partner.
But perhaps the most attention-grabbing moment? An actual lagoon, ready for boat rides. “The boat was the wildest moment. Since the venue had water—albeit only a foot or so in depth in most places—we really wanted a boat ride,” said Dolan, noting that at one point, brand founder Ole Henriksen himself even made a surprise appearance, descending from the clouds into a boat and journeying across the water. “We rigged it like an attraction, and after Ole appeared, guests took rides around the Dewtopia lagoon.”
The whole space was “just a pure playground,” he added.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. With the Delta variant causing rising COVID-19 cases, the team followed stringent health and safety measures, including requiring all staffers and guests to show proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 24 hours. “Thankfully the entire event was outdoors, which provided protection as well, but we also had mandatory hand-sanitizing stations by any bar or food stations, and for the flight everyone was fully masked following the highest level FAA guidelines,” Dolan explained.
“We’ve been doing events throughout the pandemic, so we really had this whole plan in place already to be safe," he added. "I can definitely say that for the foreseeable future, regardless of county or state recommendations, we will be keeping the more conservative approach for all of our clients when it comes to COVID safeguards. It’s so much easier to build it in from the beginning, versus reacting to the latest news.”
Scroll down to take a journey through Ole Henriksen's Land of Dewtopia.