The challenge was to create a conference and awards show for 800 New Look retail staff with the aim to engage and reward talent.


Our team identified Manchester as the perfect destination for the event because of its geographical location, transport links and large-scale venue options. Victoria Warehouse was selected as the event venue due to the raw look and feel of the Cotton Sheds which were on brand with New Look. The cavernous space also offered the scope to create a plenary/party space, as well as a series of breakouts. The conference was held in the autumn to kick-start the peak Christmas period for retail, and Christmas was the theme of the day with many guests arriving in fancy dress.

In designing the main event space, we created a multi-purpose, dynamic set that could be used for a daytime conference, evening awards and after party, and we also created a fashion show at the end of the day to show store managers what they would be selling in the upcoming quarter. For this, we sourced a cast of 20 models and dancers and created an incredible show punctuated by a number of special effects including a snow storm, fire bursts and CO2 shots during our fashion revolution.

Bespoke learning exercises were created such as a ‘play your cards right’ game show with a Bruce Forsyth host character, an elf academy and a New Look Christmas pantomime, all getting across serious practical information to the delegates with a memorable delivery method. We also incorporated a silent disco headset system. As all content was video-led this made perfect sense, and also created a bit of fun for delegates as they sat down with their headsets on! Around the breakouts were snow-covered Christmas trees, reindeers, themed signposts and gobos which we used to throw snowflakes on the ceilings and floors, while our friendly team of Santa’s helpers effortlessly led delegates between spaces on a very tight schedule. 

For the evening dinner and awards show, we used black banqueting chairs, crystal table centres, purple lighting, an LED dance floor and a live band to announce the award winners, all to create a wow moment for guests and to make the atmosphere fun and upbeat. The band then stayed on and played a brilliant set with the addition of a rapper, getting everyone on the dance floor and providing a superb end to a fantastic day, before heading back to hotels via coaches, all organised seamlessly by Smart Live.


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