Thursday, December 22, 2011

Go Daddy Holiday Party

Go Daddy Scores Big with “God Bless America” Holiday Extravaganza

Media Tags Extraordinary Events-Produced Event “One of the Best Parties in the Country”

Go Daddy’s “God Bless America” holiday extravaganza celebrated this country and its employees with a multi-million dollar holiday bash at Chase Field in Phoenix on Dec. 10, 2011. In live coverage of the event, KNXV called it “one of the best in the country.”

Go Daddy Executive Chairman & Founder Bob Parsons drew employee names for cash prizes totaling more than $1.1MM, for which the company pays all the taxes. Over the years, Go Daddy has earned a reputation for over-the-top holiday parties and Parsons never shies away from explaining why.

"People ask me, why we throw such big, blow-out parties? I say, why not - our people absolutely deserve it!" Parsons exclaimed, as a jam-packed crowd of employees roared in approval. "You all have worked very hard to get us to this point," he told his people. "Go Daddy came from scratch, no sales … and this year, we're going to write $1.1 billion dollars in business. We have a lot to celebrate, and remember, we're not here for a long time … we're here for a good time!"

2011 has, in fact, been a tremendous year for the world's largest provider of Web hosting1, domain names and net-new SSL Certificates. Go Daddy took over a top slot in the net-new SSL market, built on its number one Web host ranking, hit the 51 million domain name mark, which is an Internet first, and produced the Super Bowl commercial that drew the most Internet traffic of the year.

Once Parsons established the theme, Extraordinary Events, the Los Angeles-based event producer, worked with Go Daddy Vice President of Corporate Events and Community Outreach, Renee LaBelle Parsons, to create an event to reward Go Daddy employees and guests.

“There are once-in-a-lifetime events in the world of event planning,” says Extraordinary Events’ president, Andrea Michaels, “and Go Daddy’s 2011 holiday was one of them.” Michaels went on to comment that it was not how much money was spent, but rather the investment in creativity and the trust in EE’s execution that made it satisfying. “I envisioned things I wanted to do, and then was given enthusiastic permission to do them. Seeing them spring to life was a dream come true.”

So what made the event so spectacular? Go Daddy and Extraordinary Events developed a concept to build enormous scale American icons, all three dimensional and photo realistic. 

Hollywood’s finest set designers and builders worked feverishly to create a 40-foot Statue of Liberty that was the entry piece of the event. Other featured iconic areas included: Mt. Rushmore, carved with Go Daddy Girls’ heads; a Bourbon Street two-story restaurant complete with a CafĂ© du Go Daddy; a Las Vegas Casino; an Indianapolis Raceway with Danica Patrick’s race cars; Hawaii with an enormous Go Daddy sand castle constructed during the party; a Hollywood movie theatre set with paparazzi, red carpet, and a Go Daddy Walkway of the Stars. 

The Go Daddy Gate Bridge was surrounded on one side by Chinatown and on the other by Alcatraz, all overlooking the San Francisco Bay at night. Each area had custom games and photo opportunities for the guests. Food and beverage was served within each area’s buildings and matched each set piece.

To top it off, the event’s centerpiece was a giant stage featuring entertainment performances by Dierks Bentley, Trace Adkins and Kid Rock.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Award Winning Events - An Interview with Andrea Michaels

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? A perplexing question as old as time, isn’t it? Well, when I’m asked to tell people how and why EE wins so many awards, it’s that same question as it applies to events. So let me share my thinking.

Whenever we receive a request for proposal and I start digging to find out what our client wants, I start asking myself if this is the type of an event that could win an award, and if not, what could I add to it to make it award worthy? I visualize the event (or meeting) through the eyes of an industry judge and ask myself if it was very well executed, if it was creative and innovative, if it was original and unique and more. Like what specific elements could I write to in an awards entry that would literally jump off the page verbally and photograph beautifully, image wise. Is it worthy of a magazine cover story? So that’s where I start.

Then from all phases of the proposal through production I continue that thinking and when I can add elements to make the event award worthy, I always do. Writing an award entry after that is easy because if the proposal contains all the elements I’ve described above, then writing the awards entry follows the proposal format because if it won the award (awarding EE the business) then it could also be worthy of industry recognition.

For more information on this topic and others, check out the link for an interview I did earlier this year with Howard Givner from the Event Leadership Institute ( which was recently featured in Biz Bash.

Speaking of awards, EE is very proud to announce that in conjunction with German agency Avantgarde we received the Grand GALAXY Award - Best of Show for the MINI Countryman Wanderlust campaign we told you about months ago. The GALAXY Awards honor professionals who contribute to the process of building image, creating profit and making a difference in the market place and the MINI campaign was entered in the category of Special Events - Product Awareness. To be one of only two U.S. agencies so honored is a very proud moment for EE. These events, spearheaded by Beth Stephenson who worked closely with the Avantgarde team, is a new way of thinking for events and event marketing and speaks to what the future holds in store for all of us. This was a giant step for EE so to be so acknowledged is very exciting for our entire team. Below is the article regarding our win:

"NEW YORK, NY – November 1, 2011 - The winners of the 2011 International GALAXY Awards honoring excellence in product and service marketing were announced today.
Over 600 entries were received from 22 countries including Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, the Netherlands, People's Republic of China, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Extraordinary Events (USA) teamed with Avantgarde (GERMANY) took the top honor on behalf of their client, the car brand, MINI (Munich, GERMANY) for their MINI Countryman Wanderlust Campaign. The events took place over six weeks in five U.S. cities to introduce the new MINI Countryman vehicle. 

This campaign increased awareness and positioned the MINI Countryman as part of an adventuresome lifestyle. It created high-traffic buzz via social media and a call to action to visit the campaign Web site. By inspiring MINI followers to create their own Wanderlust event ideas and post them on the MINIspace Web site, we created a strong viral impact that garnered MINI high-quality prospective buyer leads in the U.S.

The judges praised the marketing campaign as "Well done!!!" and "Fun! A very creative idea well executed." With near perfect 10 scores, the project best embodied the spirit of excellence shining in the GALAXY Awards."

We are also excited to announce that EE is a finalist in the Mobile Excellence Awards for Best Brand Marketing Campaign. The Mobile Excellence Awards represent all walks of the mobile ecosystem from start-ups, studios, content providers, entertainment, apps and handsets, to brands and more. Just to be in the company of leaders like AT&T is an honor, but wish us luck as we’ll find out who wins next month!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Special Olympics

The world’s largest sports and humanitarian event is coming to the world’s capital for media and entertainment. The Special Olympics International Board of Directors announced that Los Angeles will be the host site for the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games.  In less than four years, Los Angeles will welcome more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 170 nations to compete in 21 Olympic-type sports.  The games are expected to bring more than a half-million people to the greater Los Angeles area and will be held in summer 2015.

At a press event at the Staples Center in downtown LA on Wednesday, September 14th,  a memorandum of agreement was signed by Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics and Patrick McClenahan, President &CEO of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Organizing Committee.

Extraordinary Events has been a long time supporter of Southern California Special Olympics, producing their annual fundraiser for the last 3 years. Chris Clark assisted McClenahan with the stage design, production, and logistics.

“In a city full of movie stars and all-stars, our Special Olympics athletes will be the stars of this show as they demonstrate their skills, courage and joy.  Los Angeles will provide the world stage necessary to create the awareness that leads to increased acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities throughout Southern California, the nation and the world,” said McClenahan.

The star-studded event included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Loretta Claiborne, Special Olympics Athlete Spokesperson and member of  Special Olympics International Board of Directors Games Committee; Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG; C.L.Max Nikias, President of the University of Southern California; Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor; and Rafer Johnson, Los Angeles’ own Olympic legend - 1960 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Decathlon - and Founder of Special Olympics Southern California. Escorting Special Olympic Athletes into the event were famous Olympians Apollo Ono, Michelle Kwan, Dwight Stones, John Nabor, Kim Rhode, Amanda Freed, Bob Seagren, Patty McCormick, Betsy Mitchell, Tom Hoff, Mitch Kupcheck, Sammy Lee, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Louis Zamperini, Yuna Kim

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Air China

On September 1st, Extraordinary Events was excited and honored to produce a dinner and ceremony for Air China announcing their new daily direct flight between Los Angeles and Beijing at downtown L.A.’s California Plaza.  The dinner included action buffet stations serving hot dumplings and noodle bowls with a live Chinese Noodle Puller demonstrating the lost art of noodle pulling and a Chinese Candy Artist demonstrating and making assorted hard candy sculptures like Pandas and Dragons.  The guests were also treated to a Chinese Tea House where they were served 4 types of traditional teas flown in from Beijing especially for the event.


The evening’s entertainment and ceremony was hosted by local TV news anchor Chuck Henry, and consisted of Air China receiving a commendation by city local officials for adding this flight bridging the gap between Los Angel and Beijing, a Fashion Show showcasing the fashions of Air China’s 2011 Staff and Crew Uniforms, a Traditional Chinese Mask-Changer performance, a Chinese Musical performer and an intimate performance by jazz saxophonist Kenny G.


Also on display was Air China’s new Business-Class luxury seating, where guests were invited to sample their plane’s comfortable accommodations.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Whack a Mole

This is dedicated to all those who feel like the mole in “Whack A Mole”…can you relate? You all know (I hope) that I wrote a book about my experiences in life and career, that of event planning. I wrote it both because I love to write and felt that I had much to share, but I wrote it also to inspire and to teach life lessons that hopefully would show others that (hold on, going to be very trite here) there’s light at the end of every tunnel and that road blocks are reasons for detours and not turning back.
We all are faced with obstacles. It’s how we view them that defines how we act on them. I choose to see them as challenges to overcome. Since my daily life even today seems to be a reason for Volume 2 (oh in these economic times it remains ever-challenging, doesn’t it?) but I can’t yet fill the pages of another book I’m blogging instead.

Stress never accomplished anything. Let me share a comment from one of my book’s readers: “Reading Andrea Michaels book again, only helps me feel more confident that everything will work out.” That inspired me to push through MY most recent obstacle. And if you still haven’t read it, let us tell you where to find it (AMAZON, Barnes & Noble). And if you don’t want to buy either the hardcover or the Kindle version, perhaps you’d like to register to win one. 

Shirley Martin, a professional book reviewer, is featuring “Reflections of a Successful Wallflower” in her most recent giveaway contest.  Register for a chance to win by following the link below.

Good luck!