Best of EMS 2016: Day One – Event Marketer

Best of EMS 2016: Day One – Event Marketer

Best of EMS 2016: Day One

Attendees kick back and take notes from couches and lounge chairs in session rooms. Nice.

Attendees kick back and take notes from couches and lounge chairs in session rooms. Nice.

Virtual Reality, Event Blueprints and Experiential Marketing

Ahhhhh, Denver. This year’s Experiential Marketing Summit host city might have a lot going for it on the outside (c’mon—the mountains, the spring skiing, the cannabis), but inside the Colorado Convention Center, there was plenty to see and do, too.

EMS roared to life with three afternoon workshops offering, among content, exclusive event blueprints, detailed instruction on how to activate a VR experience in events, and back by popular demand, an “intro” class on experiential marketing.

At 4:30 our official kickoff Opening Reception took place in the Solutions Center with partners, products and services to check out, in addition to the artisanal macaroni and cheese bar and chicken wing station (no small plates here). Marketing Werks’ sensory tasting experience left us all #TrippingAtEMS. After dissolving a berry supplement in their mouths, attendees sampled three food items and then had their minds blown when those items did not taste as expected. A slice of lemon, for example, tasted like heavily sugared lemonade; sour cream and strawberry, like delicious shortcake.

The #TrippingAtEMS tasting experience. What does that lemon rrreally taste like?

The #TrippingAtEMS tasting experience. What does that lemon rrreally taste like?

The reception was just a warm-up as 500 event marketers slipped on their finest threads and headed to the ballroom at 7:00 for the 2016 Ex Awards Gala. Over a three-course dinner of berry salad, braised short rib and a chocolate mousse, 23 categories of awards were celebrated. Congratulations to the Grand Ex recipients American Express and Momentum Worldwide, and all of the night’s winners!

Absolut kept the mile-high momentum going with specialty cocktails made with Absolut Oak barrel crafted vodka and lime (served in nifty “oak” stainless steel mugs) at the Ex Awards After Party. After all, there’s no such thing as a soft launch of EMS. And this was only the first day, people.

Be sure to tune back in tomorrow as we bring you another recap with more insights, tips and best quotes from EMS 2016. Read on… you know you want to.



“A lot of the traditional agencies are having trouble moving into this space. They don’t come from this space, they’re having trouble understanding this space, they’re not adapting to this space. The digital agencies see it more as a technology opportunity, and there are tremendous opportunities for digital extensions and digital enhancements, but as far as owning the brand experience, it is people like you guys, the experience marketers, that are going to own that and help brands define that, and we’re going to bring this thing to life. Brand experiences are going to become the center of the marketing universe.”

—Mark Mullen, vp-strategy and planning at George P. Johnson
Experiential Marketing 101

“There is always the fear of using technology for technology’s sake, but it’s how you embrace and capture for consumers how powerful this medium, VR, can be—telling an immersive story that you can’t capture on a screen.”

—Mike Schaiman, manager partner at Helios Interactive
VR University

“What marketers have been doing for the last 25 years will no longer work for the next 25. When we connect experiential with the rest of the marketing mix, all of a sudden the channels that were having problems are improving. So experiential is becoming an accelerant.”

—Dan Hanover, editor and publisher, Event Marketer
Anatomy of a Brand Experience

See also:

• Best of EMS 2016: Day Two
• Best of EMS 2016: Day Three

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the magazine's executive editor. Her travels covering the experiential marketing in dustry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
View all articles by Rachel Boucher →

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