People want the strangest things (at their events)!
So, last week we received an enquiry for a private jet. And it was weird. Really weird. An exec jet request is a regular occurrence but this one had a bizarre twist. The passenger was dead! Now, aside from being a bit macabre, this is also a logistical nightmare because unless you go really big, jets don’t have very big boots! A jet with a cargo hold of any size (or big enough for a six foot box) scales up the price enormously. And you can’t just strap him in because it’s illegal (as I discovered after I’d suggested it). You’d be amazed at how many people try it though to save money, on commercial airlines too!
This bizarre request got us thinking. What other weird requests from left field are people in our industry ‘fielding’? (and if you have one, we’d love to hear from you!)
I heard a brilliant one at a lunch with a US Embassy official this week. A very famous rapper (who often travels with his even more famous wife) stays at an iconic (and very famous) London hotel. Oh sod it, this is ridiculous. Jay Z and Beyoncé were staying at the Lanesborough (allegedly). Late one night an embassy official received a call from Jay Z saying “the food in this place makes me sick! Please can you deliver me a KFC!” Which they duly did and he duly ate. Every day of his stay!
Another one goes like this. A huge (and previously quite conservative) corporate recreated a 'set' of an American diner for an elaborate office party. The diner ‘set’ was surrounded by movie cameras and lighting rigs, as the guests became part of the film (and you won’t see this coming!) “When Harry Met Sally”. Naturally, guests had to recreate ‘that’ scene. It gets weirder though. Each group’s performance was then ‘judged’ and the winning entry was subsequently shown as part of the awards ceremony event the company was holding later that evening! Needless to say, it was hysterical and (although not without risk) a triumph!
People will go to great lengths too. A very distinguished lady arrived at the Alexeeva & Jones store to discuss the demanding arrangements of her daughter’s high society wedding. The lady had travelled from the Middle East, visiting one of Paris’ most famous chocolatiers en route, in search of “the best chocolate in the world” to impress her 660 wedding guests. This lady had specifically travelled half way across the world from the UAE to find the greatest chocolate in the world. And she found it in Notting Hill! Naturally.
I live near an inspirational guy called Graham Lancaster. He’s written novels, self-help business books (The 20/20 Factor is amazing!) but most impressive of all, he’s the (very modest) guy behind top global PR agency, Biss Lancaster. And he’s a Man United fan. And he drives an Aston Martin (when it’s not raining!). Anyway, Graham (as you’d imagine) is full of amazing stories but one that resonates in particular was when he was tasked with promoting quality British wool on Savile Row. So, what did he do? He turfed Savile Row (in its entirety) and let a flock of sheep loose to roam freely on the grass, demonstrating the fresh and authentic, high quality nature of British wool. Brilliant. And it made front pages of all the Nationals because it was so visually spectacular! Imagine the impact that would have had in the age of twitter and facebook? Pictures (and video) don’t speak a thousand words. They speak a million words. And that’s scientifically proven!
Sticking with the theme, back in 1997 a clothing store on the King’s Road requested “a goat” for their event. That’s “A Goat”. Luckily, the organisers’ friends in the military lent them their regimental mascot. Promoting the store’s chic new cashmere range, their goat proved very professional. He didn’t even bleat about his (very reasonable) £200 fee. In the age of digital media I’m sure he would have demanded more though. Perhaps bray per click?
We field loads of calls at Londonlaunch, from people needing specific help, advice or simply ideas for their events. I remember one such call a little while ago where the enquirer wanted ‘dwarves’ from a staffing agency. Although a little politically incorrect, I’ve been to a surprising number of events where dwarves have been serving canapés (often on roller-skates), and this one isn’t a tall story either. After establishing that they could, indeed, hire the dwarves, they sheepishly enquired as to whether they would be permitted to ‘throw them’ as part of the entertainment! We were so reluctant to ask but were surprised when the agency told us it was quite a common request and that there was a dwarf ‘stunt team’ who would be happy to oblige. Hmmm, not sure it would go down brilliantly in the age of social media (except on Rudetube perhaps!)
Talking of freaky things, some of you may have attended our Hippodrome Casino event a few months back? The one where I decided to embrace the fact that the Hippodrome used to be a circus about 150 years ago, complete with lions and tigers and bears? Oh my! I did this by teaming up with the amazing Angels Fancy Dress and wore an authentic Victorian Ring-master’s outfit. It was brilliant (if I say so myself) and to top it all off, I (and this is a bit weird) I recited an adaptation of a Dr.Seuss verse to introduce the owner, Simon Thomas, entitled “If I ran the Circus!”
It went something like this – “So come to this spot, where the spotlight is hot and you'll see in the spotlight not one, but a lot, of amazing new spaces this venue has got!” It’s more dramatic in a top hat!
Oh, and finally, I once convinced the CEO of huge American firm Herman Miller to dress as a pimp to promote their amazing new office chair at a press launch. But if you think that a risky strategy, I managed to convince the senior Exec ladies from head office to dress as ‘hoes’. For a press launch? And I got a testimonial saying it was their ‘most successful event of all time’. Who would have thought? Not me, clearly. Phew.
So, if you’ve got any weird, wonderful, strange or bizarre stories about random event requests, we’re hungry for more!