Before we even moved to our new location, the words “Open House Party” appeared on my list of priorities for 2012. I compared the planning of this event to planning a wedding: choosing a caterer, music, drinks, decor, and all of the small details that make it more memorable for each person who would walk through the door. This event was more than just a party to christen our new home, but a “thank you” to our employees, families, friends, business partners and clients for fueling the success of our agency.
Fortunately for me, I did not have to tackle the party planning alone. Our PR team are experts in event and party planning, so naturally they helped lead the charge. Account supervisor Dana Carpenter is a rock star. She immediately knew our catering had to be top-notch, but didn’t want to kill our budget and blow all our money on food – and Chef Jack’s Catering in Waukesha hit the mark for us. Not only did they supply amazing hors d’oeuvres, but their service and attention to detail was phenomenal. The tomato soup and grilled cheese shooters were quite the hit!
And of course at Core, a party just isn’t a party without good drinks (this may not be Cooper, Draper, Price, but we ARE in advertising). Chef Jack’s provided a full bar, but the special hit was participation from our neighbors at Great Lakes Distillery. We asked them to come up with a signature drink, and, boy, did they come through! Owner Guy Rehorst was more than generous in helping ensure we had exactly what we envisioned – a drink that not only tasted amazing, but emphasized our brand message of “Total Brand Alignment”. Bartender Nick, or Tender Nick as Friend of Core @EricaConway from C2 dubbed him, invented our #TBA drink, combining honey citrus vodka, lemonade and blue curaçao to mimic the meaning behind the colors of our logo (yellow [say it] + blue [live it] = green [total brand alignment]). Nick energetically served up our signature drink and tastings of other fine spirits from Great Lakes Distillery throughout the evening .
When choosing an “activity” for the event, our brainstorming went a little wild. Any of you who may have attended a Core party in the past might remember things like a petting zoo, handwriting psychic or even a carnival setup complete with a drunken hobo clown who wandered aimlessly. This time, instead of getting too wacky, we decided to invite our guests to have their own fun by providing with an interactive photo booth from ClickMyEvent.com. They could act as serious or silly as they wanted, and guests could take a print home as a keepsake or share with friends online. Some of our favorite photo moments include our clients from The Valley Hospital in New Jersey sporting a Packers cheesehead, and the gang from @C2GPS showing us how to “work it”! See some of the photo booth photos on our Pinterest board.
Guests were also challenged with trivia questions on Core’s history with an interactive QR code game placed at each high-top table. The question about Core’s founding – and the late-night adventures of the partners – was the most popular. You can have fun trying to answer that question by clicking here. Leave a comment below and let us know how you fared!
While listening to a great playlist put together by Colin Deval, our guests mingled throughout the new office space. Along the way they enjoyed getting to know each employee a little better by seeing their personalities shine through in their office decor. Each staff member was given a stipend to do something creative in their work areas. Creative paintings, photographs, sculptures, a real motorcycle in Jeff Speech’s office, and an honest-to-goodness actual seven-foot swordfish in Rich Vetrano’s office were just some of the interesting pieces people came across.
And I can’t forget to mention the incredible work behind our environmental graphics that helped make the office come to life. Of course we work best with a deadline to get things done – some elements were put in just hours before the party started! Senior Art Director Julie Mertz led our staff through some creative brainstorming that resulted in a large sculptured “C” logo mark in our lobby, a “concept graveyard” in the bathrooms (yes, the bathrooms), and many additional fun elements you can find as you tour the office (come visit … no, really, drop a line below if you’re interested!).
As each guest departed, they received a pilsner glass from Boelter Beverage that had our logo and #TBA drink recipe on it. Inside the glasses were exquisite chocolates custom designed in our Core colors from our friends at the amazing Atomic Chocolate. They’re just a couple of blocks away in our Fifth Ward/Walker’s Point neighborhood. And if you haven’t hit @TimesSquarePizza yet, get on it.
To get a more “real-life” experience of our party, stay-tuned for a video emceed by our Creative Director Jerry Higgins and shot/edited by Doug Birling. I’ll post to our blog as well as our YouTube and Vimeo channels soon. If you want to see a few pictures of the event, see our Flickr photo stream.
We are so grateful for all of the guests who came to visit us and share in what was truly a special evening. You helped us craft one of the first lasting memories in our new office. I also want to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to everyone at Core – our entire agency contributed to make sure the event was a success. And a special “thank you” to all of the vendors we used as well. I’ve already had many people ask, “When’s the next party?” Stay tuned – only three more years until we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary!