the famed globe-
table settings to
top left) Paris,
Cairo, Venice and
“Theme parties have taken on a somewhat
different complexion now,” says Andrea Michaels, president of
Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Extraordinary Events, “especially in the
world of corporate events.” Although themes still are popular, she
notes, some of the old favorites are fading. “The reality is that
very few major players in high-tech companies right now are old
enough to have any clue what a ’20s or even a ’50s party would be
Whether or not for reasons of generational turnover, a growing
number of corporations have retired familiar themes and are
leveraging the power of an event to make a clear and unique
statement. Following are some colorful examples of what creative
planners can do to connote that an organization is growing, setting
goals or just plain rewarding its employees.
When San Mateo, Calif.-based consulting company Siebel Systems
asked Extraordinary Events to organize a party that would boldly
declare Siebel’s global presence, Michaels came up with a
high-energy evening called World Beat, theming her event around the
one language that translates across all borders: music.
Michaels held the event in an outdoor parking lot near an
amphitheater and suspended one enormous white globe 15 feet above
attendees’ gawking heads. All evening, as guests milled about
buffet stations offering fare from Asia, the Greek Isles, Mexico
and other parts of the world (each branded with the evening’s
specially designed World Beat logo), projectors from eight
different directions were trained on the globe, screening hours of
footage (compiled by Michaels and her team) of cultures around the
world playing, singing and dancing to music.
A band specializing in world music was versatile enough to
provide sonic backdrop for all the nationalities depicted on
screen, especially effective when the music corresponded with the
globe’s continually changing footage.
Michaels dressed the tables in colors conjuring NASA satellite
images of Earth from afar, focusing on cobalt blues, rich purples
and terra cottas.
Finally, to ensure that no attendee would soon forget the evening
or her client’s pan-global identity Michaels ended dinner with a
surprise: Two troops of drummers and dancers African and Latin
twirled into the room, ushered attendees into a conga line and led
them to the adjacent amphitheater, where they were treated to
African acrobatics and a Latin salsa performance. Driving the
pluralism-through-music message all the way home, the two groups
then merged and performed as one, with the enthusiastic help of an
amphitheater full of dancing Siebel employees.