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Top 50 Innovative Event Pros 2013: Chris Gasbarro

C3's chief creative officer aims to generate emotions, reactions, and memories out of ordinary meetings for his big-name clients.

By Jenny Berg June 12, 2013, 7:00 AM EDT

Chris Gasbarro, chief creative officer, Creative Community Connections L.L.C. (C3)

Photo: Ken Richardson

In his role at C3, a Boston-based company that produces meetings and events all over the world, Chris Gasbarro, 37, has one chief concern: “Feeling is all that matters,” he says. “At the end of the day, as people are leaving a ballroom or getting on a plane, what do they feel as a result of the meeting or event experience?”

To ensure that the gatherings he produces do stir up emotions, reactions, and memories, Gasbarro works with his team to put an on-brand spin on ordinary meetings for Converse, M.I.T., and Staples.

The Running Event, a gathering of running-industry pros, took place in Austin, Texas, in December. For client Saucony, Gasbarro and his team produced an after-party inspired by casual neighborhood bashes. Solo cups placed in a chain-link fence spelled out the brand’s name, and a courtyard held futuristic displays of the company’s new running shoes. “We thought, what better way to say ‘thank you’ to customers than to host an old-fashioned backyard kegger,” he says. “The red Solo cup idea tied directly to the brand’s color.” 

At Bauerworld, an October expo for ice-hockey-equipment buyers, C3 designed an arcade for Bauer’s after-party. Gasbarro filled an empty nightclub in a Palm Springs hotel with vintage 1980s arcade games and served craft beer from local breweries. A corner jukebox was loaded with ‘80s tunes, and guests could create their own playlists. The inspiration, Gasborro says, came from the meeting’s attendees. “What does the heavy male demographic love? Craft beer and 8-bit video games.”

For a smaller meeting for Bauer’s executive team, C3 once created a fake ice hockey rink. The experience was designed to mimic the feeling of a hockey team’s center-ice huddle, so seating was in the round. “Chris’s creativity and leadership have made him an invaluable business partner to Bauer,” says Ed Kinney, Bauer’s executive vice president of global commerce. “Season after season, Chris’s ability to both visualize and execute has helped strengthen our connection to both customers and consumers alike.”

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