Snap, crackle and pop!
Ackermans Style Squad 2018 winners’ announcements
Each year retail giant Ackermans runs a nationwide fashion design competition aimed at kids between the ages of 9 and 15. Each winner (a boy and a girl) gets their own clothing range sold in all Ackermans stores, R10 000 in cash and a R10 000 educational policy, and R5 000 is donated to each of their schools.
The project takes place online, with the public voting for their favourite designs in the first few rounds. A ‘top 20’ (10 girls and 10 boys) are chosen to compete in the final, which involves designing their own range. Two winners are chosen and announced in events at their schools. Ackermans has a 40-minute programme for both events, which includes an MC welcoming the audience, three fun-filled stage activities, videos and branding, as well as the winner announcements. Goodie bags are handed out.
Transform was appointed in 2018 to manage the winner announcements at the two winners’ respective schools, both in Gauteng.
Challenges and opportunities
- The logistics were daunting: Ackermans required Transform to supply a quotation without the agency knowing at which schools the announcements would be held, eliminating the possibility of doing a site recce; the time given to plan the events from the moment the client was able to share with the agency who the winner was, till when the announcement was actually made, was minimal; and both announcements had to be done on the same morning at the two different schools.
- We had to capture the spirit and energy of the Style Squad competition without having worked on the competition or the Ackermans brand before.
- The client’s flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg was delayed on the day of the events, which had to be postponed to the following day. This hiccup had to be handled swiftly and with sensitivity and tact for all involved (suppliers, school and client).
Research and insights
- Thanks to our many years’ experience in event organising, we were able to provide a fairly comprehensive cost estimate for approval; and once the winners’ schools were announced (one in Pretoria and the other 80km away in Boksburg), we immediately undertook site recces.
- We gathered information from Ackermans to understand the look and vibe of the competition.
We established who the most reliable and cost-effective suppliers were for securing certain aspects related to AV equipment, helium balloons and goodie bag items. (The equipment for the stage activities would be provided by Ackermans; Transform just needed to set it all up.)
Efficient and nimble pre-event planning was needed, for which Transform is ideally suited: we have the experience, the agility and the solid forward-thinking to address possible scenarios.
- To capture the spirit and energy of the competition, Transform put together a look through novel lighting, sound and great AV. This was accentuated with coloured helium balloons, branded cut-out models and branded T-shirts and caps.
- We chose three themed colours to be reflected through all lighting and video projection, loops and ballooning.
- Aside from colourful par-can uplighters placed down the sides of each school hall and on the stage, we looped pre-recorded video footage along with event logos through large plasma screens on each side of the hall.
- We thoroughly briefed our sound and lighting engineers, and appointed a photographer to shoot both events; and we sourced and provided young students to assist with crowd management, the stage activities and the dispensing of goodie bags at the end of each event.
- We designed, sourced and assembled over 600 branded goodie bags containing delicious bottled milkshakes, crisps and sweets, along with branded Ackermans merchandise.
Evaluation and benefits
Ackermans relied on us for solid pre-planning, creativity and good on-time execution of each event. Despite the challenges, each event went ahead very smoothly to packed audiences of about 600 people each.
Client feedback was very positive: Tanya Ruiters, Marketing Specialist at Ackermans, said, “I really enjoyed working with you and your team, and will definitely do so again for the next event I manage. I have already spoken to my team about the wonderful job you guys did on the Style Squad event and will happily recommend you to anyone who needs event assistance.”