Entries in events (2)


Sex doesn't always sell


It takes a bit to shock me, but a recent event left me insulted and thinking WTF.

Marina and Jane, (work friends) and I were looking forward to spending time together at a hotel launch.  The invitation offered nice wine, a relaxed dinner and the opportunity to enjoy their five star facilities.   A good chance to catch up.

We were greeted in the foyer by staff who offered us wine and canapés.  A delicious spread of arancini balls, smoked salmon and meat things that are of no interest to me lay in abundance.  We chatted about our day before being guided into another room by a woman dressed (cheaply) as Marilyn Monroe.  She whispered and pouted and seemed uncomfortable in her role. 

After a brief presentation with no substance we were corralled to another area – another lobby – with more hors d’oeuvres and champagne on offer.   As we stood awkwardly wondering why we needed to check out a long hallway, ‘Marilyn’ invited us to head down to the bar for “a very special treat”. 

In the bar, a vivacious bar tended mused with enthusiasm that we were about to try the hottest thing around right now.  An espresso martini.  Ah, I’ve been drinking those for about ten years thanks to the Hot Barista.  You’re a little late.   Glancing at the bar lined with cocktails, I noticed their insipid colouring … and guaranteed to my friends that they would be bad versions of my beloved espresso martini.  I needed to try one.  Just to check.  Sipping nervously, my fears were real.  They were made with a coffee essence.  One taste and I was done.

I noticed the same canapés from two previous rooms on display.  Recycled hors d’ouvres ?  How very eco-friendly.  WTF?

One of the hotel staff suggested we head upstairs to check out the penthouse so we wandered back into the main foyer.  She went back into the bar, presumably to find more guests, and after waiting for 20 minutes in front of the cold open door, we noticed her drinking cocktails with her workmates.  WTF?

Finally another staffer lead us to the penthouse for a tour.  These can be fun, as I like to see how the other half live.  There’s no penthouse version in the cheap hotels I stay in.  You’re lucky if they have a hair dryer.

We snaked our way through the room and I noticed Marilyn draping herself over a king-sized bed while a photographer took shots of her.  WTF?  Does she come with the room?  Is she the one who delivers room service?  I was a little confused.

Marina, Jane and I climbed the polished spiral staircase with our hosts and found ourselves in a giant tiled room with a large spa bath, front and centre.   My OH&S brain kicked in as I worried about how to get out of the bath on such a slippery floor without castrating yourself.  Not a bathmat in sight. 

As we waited for the others to join us (still sculling their cocktails) we chatted to two boys who ran an entertainment company.  They were funny and cute and also slightly confused as to what was going on.   We agreed we wanted things to hurry up so we could get to dinner as the second hand canapés weren’t cutting it.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, sorry to keep you waiting but we have something very special for you”, sing songs a male staffer. 

By this time the room is packed and we are all jammed into one end of the giant bathroom.  My back is pressed against the bubbled tile wall and I can only just see over the shoulders of the crowd in front of me. 

Suddenly there’s a muffled cheer and Marilyn enters the room clutching a bottle of champagne.  She sashays around pouting and blowing kisses at everyone as they take photos.  Sure.  Whatever. 

Marilyn stops in front of the spa and does a little shimmy before turning her back on us all and kicking off her heels.   She then drags the long zipper of her sequined dress down and steps out of it, letting it drop to the floor.   What’s going on, I whisper to Marina who gives me a puzzled look.  Marilyn turns to face us and we find she’s wearing tiny nipple covers and a flesh coloured G-string.  WTF?

A girl next to me has her phone held high in the air so I can see the charade clearly on her screen.  We both gasp at each other as Marilyn climbs into the bathtub and kneels in the water.   She then splashes around briefly while a few take photos and video.  I press myself further into the wall, praying it swallows me up.  Jane and Marina look dumbfounded.  I feel the same.

Marilyn then stands up in the bath, grabs a bottle of champagne and clutches it with her thighs as she pops the cork dramatically.   She lets the liquid flow down her breasts as she wriggles provocatively making little moaning noises.  I feel dirty.  Am I at a buck’s party? Surely someone is going to yell “Surprise, you’ve been punked!”

Finally, a female Manager suggested everyone head to dinner.   A few guests followed her down the staircase while others posed in front of Marilyn.  Still in shock I see her lick the champagne bottle like someone on heat.  WTF?   As the boys pose for a photo I sneak one (from the back) to prove to myself – and others – that this really happened.  

I wondered how much this actress / model / promo girl got paid for that gig.  I wanted to give her $100 and tell her to put her clothes on and get an Uber home. 

We declined the offer of dinner and left.  I was in shock and disgusted at the stunt, fearing that perhaps Marilyn would be covered in food like a human buffet at our next stop.   Excuse me, can you please move your right breast and pass me some of that smoked salmon?  Thanks.  No thanks.

That night I was still wondering how a Marketing team could think that was a good idea for an upmarket hotel.   Any hotel.  It was tacky, salacious and pointless I noted to the hotel manager in my complaint (finding lots of big words to use to describe my disgust).  I talked of my horror at the objectification of women and wondered what sort of image they were trying to portray.  To her credit, she followed me up and we had a good conversation.  She invited us back to the hotel another time for a better experience.  Do you think Marilyn will be there? Let's hope she got a new gig somewhere.  


Not so goodie bags

I go to lots of functions.  It’s part of my job.  I love it (most times). If it’s good it’s like a great party, where you end up staying longer than you planned – and getting drunker than you meant to.  (hello MIFF launch party).

A good event has a few key ingredients. The most important: Free Drinks. Not just anything, it must be good wine and champagne.  There’s nothing worse than champagne that tastes like cat wee.  Or red wine that gives you the hangover from hell.  It should be easy to get a drink.  I’ve been to parties where you have to wait 30 minutes for a drink because the bar is understaffed or overworked.  A woman’s not a camel.

There should be good finger food. One bite canapés.  Tasty things you can pop into your mouth in one go.  Have you ever tried juggling a glass of wine, clutch handbag and a bowl of risotto with a fork? It’s like an act from Cirque Du Soleil.  It’s important to have lots of food.  If I’m drinking, I need carbs to take the edge off.  That’s why you’ll often find me hanging out near the kitchen.  I grab those waitresses early before the other vultures swoop in. #smart

Music and good entertainment adds to the ambience.  A venue that’s a bit unusual can give it a wow factor. Theming. Decorations.  Cool stuff to take photos of for Instagram.  Somewhere central.  I’m not that keen on having to drive an hour for a canapé or spend $80 on a cab fare.  The guest list also sets the tone of the party.  You want fun people who aren’t up themselves.  A mixture of A, B & D celebs works a treat.  I’m on the Z list in case you were wondering.

The majority of event managers can tick most of these boxes.  Recently I’ve noticed a terrible trend and I really want it to stop.

Shitty Goodie Bags.

At the end of the night, filled with nice champagne and my weight in arancini balls I say goodnight to my hosts.  On the way out the door, a tired looking promo girl hands me a goodie bag and thanks me for coming.  I smile back and say thanks for having me.  There’s one thing on my mind … “eewwww, what’s in this bag?!”

Unfortunately most times the answer is ‘a whole stack of crap’.

Recent ‘goodies’ have included a piece of paper (media release) and a CD of cover bands banging around loosely in a giant branded paper bag.  All three went in the bin as soon as I got home.  I have enough clutter as it is.   

At least they had branding on their bags.  I’ve been to amazing events with beautiful theming and signage – gorgeous colours – delicious food and wine.  As we left we were handed a plain brown paper bag with an old magazine, a tube of toothpaste, water and shampoo.  WTF?  Do I have hygiene issues?

Shampoo seems to be a popular addition to ‘goodie’ bags.  A full size bottle of hair product should be something I’m thankful for. Except that I don’t have dry hair – or coloured hair – or a spiral perm.  I also don’t want spray in coconut oil treatments that make me smell like I’ve sculled a bottle of Malibu.  Call me fussy.  

I’ve also received amazing gifts at the end of an event.  A media company used to throw awesome parties and you’d almost count down how early you could leave to get your gift.  Once guests received a full size ipod (in the early days when they were the coolest new thing) … and another party had us all leaving with new TVs.  Sure, most people sold theirs on eBay and mine died after six months, but its the thought that counts.

After a great night I really don’t need a goodie bag.  If you can’t find anything good to give me, it’s okay. It’s called a good-ie bag, not a ‘what’s leftover in the promo cupboard-bag’.  I’m pretty happy that I got to drink all your booze and partied a bit on your dance floor.  That’s enough for me. Unless of course you are thinking of giving me an Apple watch.  I wouldn’t say no to that.  Or some of that really expensive conditioner. I’ve just run out.