Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ways to Acknowledge Event Honorees

Sure, a statuette or trophy might become a prized mantle or office decoration for an award recipient after an event—but it's not the most innovative way to show respect and gratitude. From personalized baseball cards and bubbly bottles to interactive displays and tributes woven into the decor, here's how to pay homage in new, non-traditional ways.

Send Tribute Souvenirs
Send Tribute Souvenirs

For the New York Yankees 2014 Homecoming Dinner honoring Mariano Rivera, Chris Koch, and Andy Pettitte, invitations arrived with all three honorees spotlighted in the form of custom baseball cards.

Photo: Andrew Martin for BizBash

Add Cheeky On-Theme Details

Add Cheeky On-Theme Details

Zagat honored its local list of the 30 best chefs under 30 years old—Zagat’s “30 under 30”—in Austin with an event where drink coasters referenced other celebrities and personalities, real and fictional, who achieved fame by the same age.

Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

Showcase Framed Portraits

Showcase Framed Portraits

Every year for Essence magazine's annual Black Women in Hollywood event—an award luncheon that takes place during the week before the Oscars—producer Caravents creates a gallery of framed oversize portraits that are also pictured in the magazine's special issue. The artistic tributes hang in the Beverly Hills Hotel's grand stairway, which acts as the entrance to the celeb-mobbed event.

Photo: Line 8 Photography. All rights reserved.

Create an Interactive Installation
Create an Interactive Installation

This year's Essence Black Women in Hollywood event also included a Target-sponsored “Power of Our Presence” wall, where guests could pull a message of inspiration; as the messages were removed, images of honorees appeared beneath the star-shaped installation.

Photo: Alessandra Dubin/BizBash

Personalize a Motif

Personalize a Motif

The Museum of Modern Art honored Quentin Tarantino in 2012, choosing not to plaster the walls with explicit references to the filmmaker's iconic movies. Instead, the New York art institution crafted a more subtle homage with a color palette of indigo and a commissioned sketch of Tarantino. Nathan Milner's sketch—artwork commissioned by Tarantino that depicted the director and iconic characters from his films—was incorporated into visuals, used on the step-and-repeat, and printed on the dinner program.

Photo: Nadia Chaudhury/BizBash

Customize Entertainment

Customize Entertainment

In honor of Tommy Hilfiger receiving the C.F.D.A.'s Lifetime Achievement award in 2012, the Princeton Footnotes performed a live tribute to the designer. Naturally, the all-male a cappella group was outfitted in head-to-toe Tommy Hilfiger clothing.

Photo: Joe Schildhorn/BFAnyc.com

Place Faces on Stage

Place Faces on Stage

The Children's Defense Fund's Beat the Odds award ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2012 honored five Los Angeles high school students who overcame personal obstacles and achieved academic excellence. To incorporate the teenagers into the night's visuals, the organizers used a gallery of black-and-white portraits as the backdrop for the stage.

Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

Host an Engaging Conversation


Host an Engaging Conversation

The Gene Siskel Film Center honored Gwyneth Paltrow at its 2013 fund-raiser at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. Instead of simply presenting the actress with an award, the evening included an hour-long onstage Q&A session. Amanda de Cadenet, host of Lifetime TV's The Conversation and a friend of Paltrow's, led the discussion. The event's menu also included dishes inspired by Paltrow's films.

Use Artful Multimedia Displays

Use Artful Multimedia Displays

For the first-ever event marking its annual list of Game Changers in 2010, the Huffington Post wanted to produce an interactive experience that would appropriately honor the leaders and innovators selected by the five-year-old news site's readers. The awards were bestowed on 100 individuals, people who used new media to make a global impact in fields as diverse as business, politics, sports, and food, and scrolling projector displays mimicked the way the Huffington Post presents content online. The changing text also served to educate attendees on the works of each Game Changer honoree. David Stark produced the event at Skylight Soho in New York.

Photo: Courtesy of David Stark

Make It Personal

Make It Personal

TD Bank's employee recognition dinner—called the “Wow” awards—got a major format change in 2009, meant to avoid the feeling of a typical dinner and presentation. The event shrunk from 2,000 people to 100, with the 27 honorees, their guests, and TD Bank senior execs all siting at a single amoeba-shaped table. Lucite easels displaying photos of the evening's honorees lined the hallway.

By Alesandra Dubin for BizBash


About the Author

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Author & Editor

Based in Malaysia, Best Events specializes in Conferences, Seminars, Murder Mystery Dinners, Gala Dinners and Team Building events.

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