Event Marketer started the Ex Awards to draw attention to the unique power of event marketing—the only discipline that combines marketing strategy with the ability to use live connections to create true engagement. It’s marketing without a net, and the Ex Awards are all about rewarding the individuals and the companies responsible for the best work in the business. This is the only awards competition that recognizes excellence in event and experiential marketing, judged entirely by brand-side marketers.
This press event for the official opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park was nothing short of magical. More than 2,000 people attended, and the event streamed live, so everyone could join the celebration.
The media walked a red carpet at the entrance to Wizarding World’s Hogsmeade Village and received custom-created wands exclusive to the event. At dark, Owl Mail fluttered down, inviting guests to Hogwarts Castle where a 76-piece orchestra performed a John Williams-conducted, custom-created musical arrangement synchronized to an immersive multimedia production. Eight HD cinema projectors digitally mapped the architecture and rockwork, making it appear that Dementors and the dragon from the film were flying around the castle. A processional of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students performed fight routines and dances, followed by Universal’s choir of singing puppet frogs. Actors from the movie series, including principal film stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, also made appearances.
Live streaming of the five-minute custom-produced spectacular drew an estimated 350 million media impressions and attendance at Universal Orlando’s parks increased by 36 percent in the third quarter of the year. The park saw an extra million visitors in 2010 alone.