Las Vegas may seem like conference central, but Sin City didn’t know what hit it as 1,700 intrepid event marketers descended on Caesars Palace for the one and only Experiential Marketing Summit on May 14.
Day one kicked off with—what else—experiences. At 8:30, attendees got a taste of the Zappos brand experience at the company’s corporate campus. Then at 9:30, it was time to let loose with an axe-throwing excursion at Axe Monkeys (turns out it’s not just for lumberjacks) and a Top Golf high-tech driving range experience.
At 11:30 brand executives to convened for the pre-conference Executive Forum, co-produced with Opus. The event got some of the industry’s top players discussing how to advance the way organizations approach, develop and execute event strategies.
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For those not attending the Executive Forum, an afternoon full of workshops awaited, including Experiential Marketing 101, Bands and Brands: Making Beautiful Music Together, and Content Creation Basics for Event Marketers, featuring event vet and living meme Andy King of the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary.
As the workshops were winding down, the opening reception in the Solutions Center was firing up with the latest and greatest in event technology and experience design, and a host of dynamic demos. Meanwhile, Tech Tours gave attendees quick overviews in the brand new EventTech Village, which also offered micro-sessions on tech topics, and the Braindate Lounge offered conferencegoers a chance to participate in one-on-one or small group conversations based on their shared interests.
By 7 p.m., the 17th annual Ex Awards, known as the industry’s Golden Globes, kicked off with the help of sponsors ASV and Attack!. There, 600 of the world’s best marketers dressed to the nines had a chance to get rowdy as they celebrated the best campaigns of the year. (Congrats to this year’s Grand Ex winners, HBO and Giant Spoon.) Those not in attendance could sweat it out at a SoulCycle group class or grab the sparkliest outfit in the Caesars gift shop to attend one of Las Vegas’ most popular shows, Donny & Marie.
But the fun’s just getting started. Two more days of workshops, collaborative learning and entertainment await. Check back here for updates and be sure to check out our Instagram and Twitter feeds for action from the show floor.
They Said It: EMS 2019 Day One
“We found the number one way that people learn about cannabis brands is through their friends and family. So for us to have somebody that came through our activation, bought a device, engraved the device and then put that device through our really cool “Paxilator,” which is this nifty little image thing, and took a photo of it and shared it with their friends, that’s gold for us. That number is what we’re trying to track across each one of these activations and understand what influence did that have to then drive other people’s decisions.”
-Julie Kikla, Director of Strategic Partnerships, PAX Labs
“But what is it about the human brain that predisposes us to crave group experiences? Countless studies have come out over the past few years about millennials and how they’re a unique demographic because they crave experiences over things. But the fact is, all demographics—all human beings—crave communal experiences at the most basic, neurological levels.”
-Jessica Heasley, Content Director, Event Marketer
“The whole world of content is vitally important. What we do with our business is create amazing experiences. And the content piece is vital. I have taken the Gen Z’s the Gen X’s and the millennials by storm… they feel like my delivery is genuine and god has handed me this amazing platform… If I can create content and highlight amazing people doing amazing things everyday that’s what I want to do.”
-Andy King, Fyre Festival