With Pink Monkey Solution’s help, Celebrity Cruises gave foodies at 8,000 feet a taste of the high seas at the annual Food & Wine Classic held in Aspen June 17-19. We were honored that Adweek named the brand activation, which we designed and executed, one of the top three they sampled at the event. Adweek Executive Editor Tony Case wrote:

“Each day of the three-day festival, the Royal Caribbean-owned brand, a first-time sponsor of the festival this year, hosted a ‘grand tasting’ of a different variety, replicating the diversity of cuisine offered aboard its ships and their multiple restaurants.”

So what does it take to design an activation for a big brand that will really wow attendees?

In this case, it took a great initial idea and a custom fabricated modular set that could be changed three times in three days and paired with cutting-edge technology — a super high-resolution video wall. The wall literally wallpapered the back of the booth and pulsated with images of the gorgeous destinations you can visit when you take a Celebrity Cruise, along with a look at the luxurious accommodations, the incredible food and the overall experience you’ll enjoy when you embark on a Celebrity vessel.

The overall goal was to demonstrate to attendees what a cruise is like and that’s just what we did. But the story really begins two years ago, when we built a similar activation for Royal Caribbean, the parent company to Celebrity Cruises. We met the brilliant marketing folks at Celebrity Cruises in Miami, where we got the chance to tour a stunning ship to experience firsthand the story Celebrity Cruises wanted to bring to life for folks hobnobbing on a mountain thousands of miles from the nearest ocean.

After our meeting we set to work designing the set: a 25-by-20-foot triangular booth, which featured a custom bar and bar front that changed daily to match the rest of the set. (It’s important to note the set is modular and could be shipped to another location and set up in myriad configurations, something that’s key for a brand in pursuit of consistency at these types of events.)

Designing Brand Activation - 01

The first day of the event focused on Blu, a modern, elegant restaurant available exclusively to AquaClass guests on nine of Celebrity’s boats. The restaurant serves “clean cuisine” that’s both healthy and delicious. As one of its defining characteristics, Blu has beautiful three-dimensional walls featuring an abstract design reminiscent of a blooming rose. Taking our cue from that concept, we hand-etched foam to decorate the walls flanking the video screen, constructing a centerpiece that felt familiar to anyone who’s dined at Blu. The front of the custom bar featured modern, brightly colored dots in shades of blue and yellow.

designing-brand-activation-02The second set, featured on day two of the festival, was inspired by Luminae, a suite-class restaurant that serves globally-inspired dishes from a menu that changes daily. The restaurant itself features beautiful lattice-work dividing walls, which we replicated on the set, paired with a lattice bartop.

Rather than feature a specific dining concept, the third day was inspired by the Galapagos Islands, one of the exclusive trips the Celebrity offers on a 296-foot megayacht; it’s a trip known for unbeatable custom service in a location that’s unlike any place on earth. Designing Brand Activation - Day 3While the previous days the booth felt slick and modern, the final day exuded a more rustic experience, with old maps of the islands and moss adorning the walls, and a wood-plank covered bar and bar top, all paired with a seafood-centric menu. It was this final set that Case, the Adweek editor, dubbed his “favorite.”

During his time in Aspen, Case also got the chance to interview Celebrity Cruises CMO Peter Giorgi about the brand’s first-ever Food & Wine Classic Sponsorship, which provided some insight into the challenge of marketing Celebrity Cruises, which is “demonstrating to someone what a cruise is like, to get them on a ship … If we can bring that experience to people who are passionate about something, it helps bring the story to life.”

Though we wouldn’t consider it an easy challenge, this Celebrity Cruises brand activation is one we’re thrilled to have gotten the chance to execute. With the right design and plenty of detailed planning, we were able to bring the story to life in a way that clearly stood out and received recognition.

Looking for a way to make your next event get noticed? Don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to brainstorm ways to take your brand to new heights.

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