Free Idea Fridays!

2014 - Game On

My husband and I started off the New Year braving the cold and snow at the NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. Huddled in the trenches of the Big House with 105,000 frosty hockey fans, we had no regrets on our decision because it was truly a once in a life time experience.

Though I have always promoted sporting events as a team builder, my day at the Winter Classic really made me understood what it meant to bond with the crowd (even though they were strangers) we quickly connected on several levels because of our shared experience. And we all know that it is the “experience” that provides that biggest ROI.

Now if it’s something big you had in mind (think Super Bowl or perhaps the Indy 500 or the Masters) for your highest producers and most important clients, the event will guarantee your award recipient will enjoy a sports experience they won’t soon forget and if you go as a group - expect to grow closer to the people you go with.

Many of these iconic events have well deserved reputations earned over the years because of the magnitude, exclusivity (limited availability) and tradition that goes with the event. Take our Winter Classic experience; the enormity of the event and everything associated with it from the pre-game activities like tailgating, the kids playing hockey on the back pond during intermissions to all of the dancing in the stands to keep warm and the high fives with total strangers when the Leafs scored made it an experience that you just have to be a part of and most importantly, will be envied by everyone who watched it on TV.

On a smaller scale, finding the perfect sporting event to motivate your employees or say thank you to your clients locally isn’t difficult; especially here in southern Ontario where the sports franchises are abundant (regardless of the fans being loyal or fickle).

You don't necessarily need the comfy confines of stadium/arena suites or private boxes for a sports event to be memorable. And it doesn’t have to be a group activity either. Sitting in the thick of things with everyday fans, enjoying a hotdog with a beer and box of popcorn with friends/colleagues, can be just as much fun. Make sure to include an extra ticket or two so a friend, family member, or significant other to make the experience more enjoyable. Most people don’t want to watch the game alone. Programs, souvenirs and autographed memorabilia are a great way to enhance the experience.

My "go to" sports guy is Atiq Ahmed from Maple Leaf Sports +Entertainment. Atiq keeps me in the know on what is happening on all things sports including soccer. He tells me that we’ll start to hear much more about Toronto FC in the news – they are doing big things for this upcoming soccer season.

Feel free to reach out to him for special access to hard to get tickets and discounted tickets (when possible)

BTW – I am using the new Pantone Colour of the year - RADIANT ORCHID. The hue which is a perfectly blended mix of purple and pink is so versatile. Pantone suggests using an RGB of 200/107/168 but I went a little lusher using 162/60/128. And don’t be surprised to see this colour (or shades of it) easily paired with many other colours and patterns for décor options this year – think rich browns, radiant blues, animal prints, metallics and even red. You can’t help but feel happy setting your eyes on this fantastic colour...even on this dull and dreary January day it will make you smile.

Try it out or check out more shades:
at 03:02PM
Let the music play
September is Road Show month with travels across Canada.

Here are a few NEW things on the music scene that I discovered for you to check out in these cities

  • Hamilton has an amazing music community and fans that are both fiercely loyal and loyally fierce
    • Supercrawl, primarily located in the James Street North area of Hamilton is an annual music festival that in 5 short years has expanded its attendance to 50,000+. There are too many highlights to mention – check out the line-up for this weekend at this link:

  • Legends like Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot headline Ottawa's Folk Festival - but also check out some new folk favourites like the Sheepdogs that won a slew of Juno Awards this year or one of Canada’s best up and coming bands, Hey Ocean!
at 10:01PM
Before the Summer Ends
The cooler air this morning was a chilling reminder that autumn is just around the corner.

Here are a few hot things to check out before the summer ends:

We will be back with more Free Ideas in September with a new look and forma - stay tuned for more...
at 11:16AM
Springtime Poaching Season Begins...
I briefly touched on this topic back in March and many of you asked for more details and measures you can take to resolve the poaching.

Poaching? A hotel poacher is a housing company that well basically STEALS your delegate, sponsor and exhibitor lists looking for ways to contact people that may be looking to book rooms for your conference or tradeshow. Watch out for these companies that go fishing for your attendees and take action!

Here is how:
  • You have every right to warn your attendees in your publications, websites, e-newsletters, exhibitor manuals, email blitz, twitter and Facebook (any vehicle you use to communicate with your attendees)
  • Be clear and concise in your messaging – here are a few I have seen on various association websites -
    • Beware of solicitation from unauthorized hotels and housing agencies...
    • We encourage you to book your accommodation through our sanctioned supplier...
    • We would like to make you aware of a situation that has been brought to our attention from several of our attendees. There are companies (xxxxHousingxxxx) who have been contacting our exhibitors to assist with hotel reservations...
  • Include the links to your housing company or department or hotel in every piece of material you send out so that all attendees can book directly and have the information handy all the time and name your accommodation partner – so everyone is familiar with their respectability.
  • Ask your attendees to be the watchdog and report on any unauthorized solicitation
  • You can ask some of the attendees you know better (sponsors committee members, board members) to forward any emails they receive from these fraud organizations so that you can investigate further
  • Warn them about possible cancellation penalties and credit card fraud and advise them to take precautionary measures

Not only can these scammers cause havoc on your bedroom pick-up that could result in attrition penalties, it can also damage your contractual obligations to your hotel and your own housing partner. Most importantly it can ruin the conference experience for your attendees and we all want our attendees happy and coming back year after year.

Beware and don’t be afraid to call them out and fight back!
at 01:50PM
Luck be a lady tonight...
Not to worry, this blog entry will not join the heated debate about the proposed casino in Toronto – not yet anyway – we will save that thorny topic for future examination.

Today is all about celebration. applauds Canada’s event professionals each year at its Annual Awards Gala, which is being held this evening in Toronto.

aNd Logistix is proud to be nominated in the following 4 categories:

Best Conference

Mortgage Forum 2012 – 3 day conference held at the Vancouver Convention Centre for the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, featuring tradeshow, educational sessions, Hall of Fame Awards night, and Comedyfest.

Best Tradeshow 

Discovery 2012 - Hosted by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, this 2 day tradeshow showcased the hottest innovations and newest inventions from leading minds from Ontario. Our client attempted a Guinness World Record for World’s Largest Business Mentoring Event and achieved that title with over 320 participants! 

Best Fundraising

Shoppers Drug Mart Charity Classic – this annual golf tournament held at Angus Glen Golf Course, generated over $2 million in revenue through unique sponsorship opportunities for the Shoppers Drug Mart Life Foundation.

Outstanding Logistical Achievement

Cleantech Forum – held in San Francisco, this conference had an outdoor Eco tradeshow component with enormous exhibits including solar panels, wind mills and eco-friendly vehicles. Our team overcame logistical issues of load in, security, and rainy weather.

at 01:16PM
March Madness – the good, the bad and the ugly

The Good –

Rachel met with the team from the Québec Convention Centre last week and they had some great news to share. The Québec City Convention Centre is stepping into the lead as it becomes the first convention centre in Canada (and one of the only few in North America) to provide free, high-quality WiFi access to its clients.

The Bad –

There are a few travel companies who target large conferences and expos to pinch travel and hotel bookings away from you. Don’t fall victim to these vultures. They are relentless and if they get a hold of your database, will go after every one of your delegates. This can damage your relationship with your own travel suppliers and pilfer from your hotel room pick-up. You have every right to call them out on it. Notify your delegates, exhibitors, and sponsors that these companies are not endorsed by your organization, and to exercise caution when dealing with them. I would be more than happy to provide the names of the various companies I have encountered over the years – just send me an email.

The Ugly –

I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to find any St. Patrick’s Day décor that was - well let’s be honest – not ugly. Try some of these elements to make everyone green with envy:

Real Shamrocks - an oxalis plant

I love the simplicity of this cupcake from...yes Martha

This yummy concoction from doesn't have a hint of green in it, just an abundance of Bailey’s Irish Cream

I Challenge all my décor colleagues to send me some “take away the ugly” ideas that I can post on a future blog.
at 12:16PM
Oscars really shine this year
It's all about sparkle at this year’s Oscars especially at the fête of all fêtes– the Governor’s Ball. This star studded event following the Academy Awards telecast will feature a 120-foot, six-tiered chandelier that was designed specifically for the occasion. The elliptical six-tiered chandelier has 18,000 LED points of light and is bigger than the largest chandelier in the book of Guinness World Records. It will change colors throughout the night. Here is the best photo I've been able find previewing the speculator design:

Another party I always like to follow is the Elton John event that raises money for his AIDS foundation. The décor is often a trend setter for the season and this year’s colors including a bold mixing of pink, red and gold. Keep this palette in mind when choosing décor element for your upcoming event.
at 03:04PM
Music scene soars in Montreal
Snowed-in nights are no problem for Quebecers this winter. Guest Blogger Lyne Charbonneau, from our Montreal office, tells us all about it in this week’s Free Idea Friday. We have always been big supporters of home grown music and Lyne’s days at Sony Music helped us build our roster of up-and-coming performers. We had Carly Rae Jepsen on our roster years before her 2 Grammy nominations. Shows like this are a great resource. Check out my favorite at the very bottom. And for all of our readers in Quebec – pipe in with your favorites – we will post them on a future blog.

Over to Lyne...

THE VOICE has arrived in Quebec. Or rather, make that LA VOIX. LA VOIX, the Québécois version of the popular sing-off competition show THE VOICE is now airing on Quebec’s French language network TVA. Just like the American version, during the first few weeks, the four coaches will sit with their seats turned away from the performers to judge the singers based solely on their vocals and not their visuals.

LA VOIX drew 5,000 singers for auditions in Montreal and Quebec. Performers are allowed to sing in English, or any other language for that matter. However, much of the music will be in French and from reading various newspaper articles, 40% will be in English. LA VOIX will feature every style of music, from heavy metal to Top 40 to rock to opera.

The judges on LA VOIX are local singers Ariane Moffatt (the face of alternative music), Marie-Mai (the Queen of Quebec Rock – you may know her from Simple Plan), Jean-Pierre Ferland (one of Quebec’s great performer of all times) and Marc Dupré (multi-talented artist, comedian, imitator and singer-song-writer).

The talent and music scene in Québec is strong and well.

Watch LA VOIX on TVA on Sunday nights at 7:30pm or for those of you outside Quebec

Some of my personal favourites:


Valerie Amyot - at only 21 yrs old – a future star

Brian Tyler:

Sabrina & Stephanie Barabe (my husband BENOIT's FAVOURITES… I wonder why?)

Jael Bird Joseph (Dana’s favorite – this guy can sing!)
at 02:24PM
Vintage Vibe
Last year we featured some concepts inspired by the soon to be released Great Gatsby movie. As predicted, this vintage vibe continues to be popular and has been very prevalent in all the winter wedding shows. A few of our readers asked us for more specific details to help create a vintage setting.

Here are a few more ideas to help you create the ultimate throwback to the 1920s.

  • For lounge furniture replace modern sofas and ottomans with antique wicker chairs.
  • For flowers, Daisies of course seem the obvious choice. Instead try using heirloom Dahlias which create vibrant rainbow-hued arrangements that are just as long-lasting and are versatile because they can be fun or elegant.
  • Embellish your table settings with Ostrich feathers, brooches, feather boas and pearl necklaces.
  • The era may evoke images of soft pastels – but strong vibrant colours like yellow were also all the rage. (I love this color palette from fellow ISES member La Tavola, fine linen rentals out of California
  • For a unique entertainment option, why not try a harpist? A harp adds a distinctive feel and look to a reception. There is a harpist based in Hamilton who is fantastic and versatile. Check out Lori’s website for photos and a sample of her music.

BTW – speaking of ISES, make sure to check out the Toronto Chapter meeting this month featuring Richard Aaron, President of BiZBash NYC (an ultimate guru of creative thinking)
at 01:04PM
Does Silly = Success?
During a recent trip to Vietnam, I scanned the local paper during breakfast and was pleasantly surprised to find a story about Toronto, but was stumped when I discovered that it focussed solely on the silly antics of the now infamous "Ikea Monkey"

Frivolous news stories in the media have always been around, but YouTube has brought sharing these quirky stories to a new level of sharing – going viral. So I started thinking, "How did this story about a shearling coat-wearing Monkey running around a Toronto Ikea parking lot, which made it all the way to a local paper in Vietnam, affect Ikea?"

Did this high level of amusement inadvertently generate the right type of advertisement for Ikea?

If you search links about going viral, you get a variety of tips and tools on how to improve your chances to join the viral epidemic. There are also several market researching studies availability. To help share the lowdown on the download, here are two articles that are sure to provoke your creative thinking.

Jonah Peretti is the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed.

Neetzan Zimmerman is Senior Editor at Gawker

Coincidentally the last time I came across an article about Toronto in a foreign newspaper was last summer in Chicago reading a New York Times story about the antics of Mayor Rob Ford at Toronto’s Silly Hall (oops, I meant City Hall). I will leave it to you to spot the parallels.
at 11:32AM
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