Menu Planning

By 28 Portland Place

Whether it’s trays laden with luxurious canapés, plates of sumptuous sandwiches or three-course gourmet meal, the secret to a standout event is truly mouthwatering food. Good ingredients and expert preparation are an important part of this, but knowledgeable menu planning is the real key to success. Below you’ll find some top tips to make sure your menu’s are the talk of the evening.


It goes without saying – every event is different and it is worth considering some personal touches to really help draw everything together. If you’re organising an event for a notorious chocoholic, you could work a subtle cocoa theme through the courses whereas someone with a spicier penchant would appreciate a menu that is hot hot hot!


As the old saying goes ‘don’t eat hot broth in summer’. Ok, we made that up, but just like your wardrobe, your menu should change with the seasons and a good chef will be able to steer you through this process with an expert eye. Make sure the chef uses fresh, seasonal ingredients that will complement the time of year and leave your guests delightfully satisfied.


The buzzword of the moment – seriously, even the banks are getting in on it with something called ‘green banking’ – you need to get serious about your event’s carbon footprint and your chef can help by sourcing local produce from sustainable suppliers. The benefit of this for your event is clear – fabulously fresh food and some media-friendly stats to top it off.

Those are three fairly solid starting points – providing you don’t stray too far you won’t go too wrong! The real key is to sit down with an expert chef and spend some time working out what’s best for your event and plan accordingly. When you factor in all the other key ingredients (see what we did there!) you’re sure to have an event to remember.

Online Advertising Vs Printed Advertising

By Rachel Hammond, RICS at Parliament Square

Advertising in general is used as a method of informing customers of your company or product and attracting new customers. This is achieved through the medium of eye-catching colour schemes, animation, pictures and informative text. Two of the most used forms of advertising are online and printed documents such as leaflets and flyers. Both have their strengths and weaknesses which are explored below.

With increasing numbers of people now using the internet every day, online advertising has increased dramatically within the last few years, and most notably between the years of 2007 and 2008, where online advertisement suppliers recognised an increase of 10.6% across the industry. In the same year, online advertising increased 4.7% in the market share, even when advertising on the whole was decreasing. It is now clear to see that online and digital advertising is an integral part of the advertising world. This can be due to a number of different factors:

Firstly, it is convenient and is very likely to make an impression on consumers as they have selected a time and place to browse the internet therefore allowing themselves to be susceptible to advertisement campaigns.

There is also a great variety of options when it comes to online advertising which cannot be achieved with printed advertising. Animation can be used, with links to other sites and changing images, this can result in a greater message being put across in a smaller space, whereas printed advertising only offers options in size, colour, shape and text.

The click through element to online advertising is especially advantageous. Not only for directing people to another site, possibly with more information, but also, for recording how many people have paid attention to the advertisement. By using aids such as Google Analytics it is possible to see who and how many people have arrived at your site by clicking through the advertisement.

Online advertising can also have its draw backs. It is all very well to have an excellent idea and promotion, however, it is possible that if a consumer sees an attractive promotion online, they may forget about it by the time they have finished browsing the internet. Even if the consumer does go to the effort of printing the advert out, this is time consuming and defeats the object of online advertising being more environmentally friendly. It is important for a company to know their target market, especially regarding the older generation, who on the whole are not as susceptible to online advertising. It is a generalisation to say that this generation is more likely to take ideas from newspapers and leaflets; this is a practice that has been established for over 150 years, where as online advertising has only become predominant within the last decade.

With the younger generation now becoming an electronic generation, it is sometimes not appreciated when a promotional leaflet is thrust into your hand whilst walking down the street. It is safe to say that many pedestrians find this annoying and flyers and leaflets can become an encumbrance. Furthermore, many people are likely to either throw the flyer in the bin, where it is not guaranteed to be recycled, or create litter on the floor. Due to this; many people are now more opposed to a printed advertisement as it is less environmentally friendly.

Nonetheless, printed advertisements do have their advantages. It can be done fairly cheaply. This is especially good for companies with a limited budget or for small organisations. It is also a tangible aid, people can come back to something they picked up earlier and it is less likely to be forgotten about. Printed advertising can also be noticed in more than one place, where as online advertising is confined to the computer. It is possible to be drawn in to adverts and promotions wherever you go, whether it be on public transport, billboards, building sides or printed publications, therefore printed adverts have an advantage over online advertising in this respect.

Concluding, it would not be possible to advertise using just one medium, this would greatly lessen a company’s range of consumers, therefore reducing the cost benefit of advertising. However, when different types of advertising are combined using cross media, it is likely that the company would gain the greatest benefit, not only by appealing to a larger audience but by playing to the strengths of different forms of advertising.

Imagine The Event

By Adam Sternberg, Sternberg Clarke

You’re being carried out of the venue on the shoulders of your guests; they’re chanting your name their faces beaming, a pregnant woman comes up to you and promises to name her unborn child after you, your client gives you a long, slightly awkward hug and whispers ‘we should do this more often’ into your ear (you’re unsure if the client means the event or the hug.) You’re shown into a taxi that takes you home, the attendees behind you wave as they shrink away in the rear view mirror. In hushed reverent tones, the taxi driver asks “What do you do” to which you reply “I supply entertainment for events.”

Now work backwards from there. “How did I get here? What did I do right?”

As suppliers of entertainment, we’re responsible for a large part of the ‘feel’ of an event and whilst we’ve not got anything to do with seating plans or the choice of wine glasses, we know that setting (and maintaining) the tone is crucial when it comes to choosing acts. It all comes back to that all important question “What do you want your guests to take away from this event?” It could be an idea, it could be a feeling, it could be a memory it could be a small branded bag with a selection of soaps – but when you know what it is you want your event to achieve, everything else starts to fall into place.

Spelbound performing for Santander

How do you reward your best employees whilst reinforcing the idea of teamwork? You could give them a gold watch with the word “TEAM” inscribed on the wrist strap. Or you could be clever about it. We recently booked Spelbound for a performance in Madrid as part of Santander’s Retail Recognition incentive for their best performers. Watching the troupe perform individual feats of strength and balance whilst working as part of a synchronized unit the message was clear – it’s possible for individuals to do incredible things as part of a larger unit.

Ernst and Young

In certain cases, understanding parts of the event that we’re not involved with is vital to the success of the entertainment. For Ernst & Young our brief was to provide bespoke entertainment which complimented a photography exhibition by John Stezaker at the Whitechapel Gallery. Here, the exhibition was the main draw but the challenge was finding entertainment that enhanced the experience without distracting from the photographs themselves. Living statues, ribbon dancers and crystal ball manipulators on plinths, all costumed and styled to suit the black white and yellow colour theme. With subtle but contemporary makeup and styling provided for all catering staff, we transformed the event into a work of art in itself, picking up on the “two halves” theme of the company with pairs of plinths and strolling musical duos improvising over ambient DJ music.

Glee Flashmob for a 30th Birthday Party

The message doesn’t always have to be corporate. At a recent 30th birthday party, we organized a Glee themed flashmob to burst into a meticulously choreographed song and dance routine at the start of the event. This immediately creates an air of unpredictability for the rest of the event, an electric atmosphere where anything could happen… and it pretty much did – we followed up the flashmob with an Abba tribute, flame jugglers and acrobalancers. By using high impact acts at the right time and charting the high points and lulls in an evening, you can keep people engaged all night – what a way to welcome in your 30s!

Costumed Actors for Landis + Gyr

Sometimes an event can lay down the gauntlet to your guests – after a conference for Energy Metering where experts Landis + Gyr shared the ideas behind a new Smart Metering grid, we provided authentically costumed actors playing historical figures central to the discovery and harnessing of electricity at the Science Museum. The actors performed three short scenes (written specially for the event) intended not only to entertain, but also inspire the guests to use new technology and social media to innovate in their field. Mixing in a little tongue in cheek humour and a touch of flattery, the scenes challenged Landis + Gyr to try new things, take risks and take their place alongside the likes of Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin.

By having a clear idea of the goals of the event, it’s possible to connect with your guests to a far greater degree than all of the speeches and slideshows you can throw at them.