What Was the Most Influential Event of 2012?

December 20, 2012, 8:00 AM EST

Gregory Boroff, Noelle Provencial, and Lenny Talarico

Photos: Kevin Tachman, Dan Hallman for BizBash, Viewfinders Photography

“This was a fascinating year for events—the presidential election, Superstorm Sandy, Facebook going public—but I was really impressed with how the U.K. handled the Olympics and the pageantry around the games. They knew they couldn’t top Beijing, but they did a tremendous job delivering a spectacular product.”
Jeff Kaplan, vice president of global events & brand activation, Discovery Communications, Washington

“Red Bull took ‘stunt’ marketing to a whole new level with their free-fall from space and were able to associate their energy drink with a mission that challenged human limits and had the world on the edge of their seats to see if they could pull it off. Red Bull connected their brand with feelings of shock and awe in a way I haven’t seen before, and attracted huge media attention because of it. This event really helped expand the way my team thinks about events and experiential marketing at Groupon, challenging us to think even further outside the box when it comes to ways to connect with our customers.”
Noelle Provencial, senior manager of experiential marketing & events, Groupon Inc., Chicago

“Internationally, most events of 2012 pale in comparison to the regalia and pageantry witnessed during Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee; those are unlikely to be seen again in most of our lifetimes. The London Olympics opening featuring James Bond and the Queen ranks in its own category. Domestically, election years always award us with plenty of staged political spectacles during the conventions.”
Lenny Talarico, director of events, MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas

“The Life Ball is an annual event not to be missed. The pageantry of the opening ceremony in Vienna’s City Hall Square followed by an over-the-top, all-night party raises funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS in a way not seen in any other event anywhere in the world. A true spectacular for sure.”
Gregory Boroff, vice president, Amfar, New York

“The 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Beyond the sheer logistical challenges and enormous magnitude of the event, the Olympics have an international audience paying close attention to every moment and details. I think the organizers did a fantastic job this year in London.”
Fergus Rooney, C.E.O., AgencyEA, Chicago

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