Octopus Advertising headed the L’Oreal End of Year Show in December 2012, at Atlantis, The Palm. PR manager, Rosalle Macaspac and creative director, Stu Higton, revealed what went into creating such a hair-raising event.
Entering into the Atlantis’, Asateer Tent, the home to the L’Oreal, End of Year Show for the second year running, was quite literally like stepping through a time warp.
Themed, Retro Nouveau, the focus was on all things 50s and 60s, the decor included a Photo Booth with a Marilyn Monroe look-alike, classic 50s cars effectively placed at the entrance of the venue, a “time tunnel,” and a live Swing band, entertaining guests prior to the show.
As we sat down with PR manager, Rosalle Macaspac and creative director, Stu Higton, we wondered what the setup process was for an event as intricate as this. “This is the second year we were organising the L’Oreal, End of Year Show,” begins Macaspac.
“We had a better understanding of timing, in terms of the client, rehearsals and suppliers to set up. And because of this, we really had a smooth setup process, from Day One to Day Three.”
She continues, “So we had a total of three days to put everything up. For Day One we actually started by putting up the GoPros cameras, just to make sure we captured the entire build of the setup for post video edits.
We then began raising the independent lamps with the Asateer Tent, because we had a very high trussing for the catwalk. We then moved on to meeting with the choreographer from Paris. At this point we were able to ensure all of the required equipment was on hand.”
Macaspac goes on to explain that Day Two continued with the setup of the stage in addition to a dry rehearsal, as required by L’Oreal, for the models. “This was done just to see the positioning of the models during the show,” she explains.
“We also set up the photo-booth for the ‘Marilyn Monroe Look-a-like’ and then we set up the banquet, from the hotel side, to make sure that all of the equipment, from our technical team, had been set up.” Macaspac adds, “We then, more or less, had a final setup of our suppliers by mid-night, so we were ready to go for Day Three, which was also the day of the show.”
Day Three, as explained by Macaspac, focused mainly on fine tuning the theme aspect of the show, setting up the classic cars and the graphic installation. She reveals, “It should be noted that we made sure that all the structures were set up, prior to the setup of the graphics, on Day two.
We also coordinated when the suppliers should be coming in and out of the venue. So once all the structures were built during the Day two process, the graphics could then be put up. So day three was simply fine tuning all of these elements and also fine tuning of the lighting sequence, as requested by the choreographer.
We also had a brief sound check for the performers (the dancers and the jazz band).” Macaspac adds, smiling, “We definitely had a military style plan for this year’s setup process.”
With a show as intricate and demanding as this, we wondered what obstacles Macaspac, Higton and their crew were met with, both during setup and the show itself. “As we were saying, this is the second year we were handling the show,” explains Macaspac.
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“We anticipated a few concerns that would be highlighted, both during the setup and the performance. Our setup process actually fell on National Day.
As we knew this was the case ahead of time, we had to make sure that we made an agreement early enough so that we knew whether or not they were available and to make sure the suppliers weren’t charging us double time.” She continues, “In the end, communication was key to make sure that the setup went smoothly.”
One particular concern seemed to be the request for the use of a bubble machine on stage. “In the affects required from Paris, a bubble machine was required to rain over the cat walk,” reveals Higton. “But on our stage, we had already planned to use a vinyl flooring.
So when you have models on high heels, there was obviously potential for disaster. So we tested the bubble machine out on the cat walk, and we had to figure out how to prevent any issues.”
He continues, “We were advised to use an anti-slip spray for the models shoes to make sure this didn’t happen. Luckily enough, we never had an issue.” Higton explains, “Also, as the floor was vinyl and we had hair dressers actually doing hair, live on stage, we had to figure out how to get rid of the hair that fell onto the stage as quickly as possible.
We wound up using a quick removable role that was invisible for the show, but when the hair dressing was finished, it was quickly rolled away.” He adds, “In addition to this, during the setup, the Time Tunnel was meant to have dry ice. However, when we tested that, that created condensation on the floor and made it incredibly slippery. So we swapped that for a haze machine instead. It created the same effect, but without the potential for disaster.”
With the amount of impressive equipment helping to create the “Retro Nouveau” theme, we wondered what piece of kit really amazed the audience. “The time tunnel made a huge impact,” explains Macaspac. “Walking through the time tunnel, it was something that was exciting. Complimented with the jazz band and the dancers, the fact that the entire venue had a ‘backstage’ effect, it was all very impressive.”
While much was learned from the previous year, the crew took quite a bit away from their experience from the most recent show. “The interesting thing was that the venue got changed at the last minute,” admits Higton.
“It had been booked for the main ballroom, but was moved to the Asateer Tent last minute. It was very awkward that we had planned for one venue and then it was changed to another.” He continues, “That said, we were lucky in that, the Asateer Tent was the same venue as last year, which fell in our favour.
So, really, one thing to keep in mind for next year is to secure a venue as early as possible. You can plan as much as you like, but if someone changes the venue on you, you need to change your plans.” Higton adds, smiling, “This year, we were told that we had exceeded their expectations from last year. They’d like for us to do it again next year. But better. And for less money.”
Macaspac adds that one of the most important aspects that she and the rest of the crew are taking away from this year’s show is the significance of maintaining a transparent relationship with clients and suppliers.
“It’s important that we not only have a strong and transparent relationship with L’Oreal, but with our suppliers as well,” explains Macaspac. “It helps to build that relationship with the client and the suppliers where you know the end result and you work, together, to get there. As a result, everyone improves from one year to the next.”
Macaspac and Higton revealed that Octopus has a few big events coming up. “We do have a few project launches with Toshiba that we, unfortunately, cannot reveal at the moment. In addition, we’ll also be working with the childrens’ charity, ‘All You Need is Love.’”