LOS ANGELES Claudia Chan is the New York-based president and cofounder of Shecky’s Media Inc. She oversees all marketing efforts and events including Girls Night Out, a consumer shopping event held nationwide, known for its gift-bag giveaways; the program will grow to 35 events in 16 cities in 2008, and made its most recent Los Angeles appearance on Wednesday and Thursday.Tell us about the new film partnerships you're working on.
Entertainment is a great sponsoring category to work with, because producers and studios are always launching new movies. For example, 20th Century Fox is coming out with a new movie called 27 Dresses. It's about Katherine Heigl being a bridesmaid 27 times, and it has a huge female focus—so [Girls Night Out] is great event marketing for them. Whenever a movie is female-centric or targeted to a female audiance, Shecky’s Girls Night Out is [the right] vehicle to carry it. Our events present a great on-premise sampling opportunity, because items carrying the movies' logos can go in the goodie bags. Another thing is that when an entertainment brand sponsors us, they get tons of exposure through our Web site. They also get involved in our advertising and media buys and go into our press releases and out to local media. We offer the potential for a brand to get creative and come up with fun promotions. In order to evolve, we really have to look to the future—for example, look at 20th Century Fox’s movie calendar for 2008, and then getting strategic with the partnership and coming up with a promotional concept and then activating it.How does Shecky's Girls Night Out in Los Angeles differ from the versions in other cities?
The spaces are so different in each city. In L.A., we’re at the Barker Hangar, which is literally an airport. In each city we create different feels—edgy for Philadelphia and glamorous for Chicago. We are always looking for unique spaces for each city. L.A. has the driving culture, the parking culture, and traffic, so we wanted to choose a space everyone knew.
How do you keep it fresh?
Every year we try to take everything up a notch. Obviously, continuing to offer a variety of hot, up-and-coming designers. We keep the goodie bag really fresh and make sure that we always partner with amazing brands, because it’s a night of shopping but it’s also a night of promotional activities. A lot of new products launch at our events.
How do you secure the best brands?
It’s a challenge because of the number of gift bags. This year we are doing 100,000 bags. But the good thing is that when consumer products come out, they want to sample. Events are major sampling opportunities, and our program is really uniquely targeted. You’re targeting women in this environment where they’re so excited to be there. They’re all fashion- and beauty-savvy, and they affect other women in their lives because they are the influencers in their own circles.
Any new plans in the pipeline for 2008 and beyond?
Girls Night Out is one of our signature programs, so to continue expand that series and to reach more women in more markets. We do have College Girls Night Out that we want to launch in 2009—the idea is to reach the 18-to-21-year-old female—and also other theme events such as our Beauty Night Out, which is beauty-centric. We also do a lot of nightlife-oriented events, social activity-based lifestyle. In L.A., our goal is to work with a lot more entertainment companies and be more proactive about reaching out to them.