New Year’s Eve…The Only Time Dropping the Ball is Okay.

Let me start this by asking you a question. If you forget to drop the ball, are you dropping the ball? I’m still pondering this but let’s move on.

The New Year. It’s always a time of reflection and commitment. A time to press the reset button and to try new things. To be creative with our thinking and to push ourselves. To change ourselves, striving for positive results, and more importantly to never be afraid to make mistakes. Why you ask? Because it means you are doing something. Something New. Something Exciting. Something Amazing. Something Challenging. And that my friends is where creativity is born. So make mistakes, learn from them and move on. Your next move just may be that creative and genius idea you’ve been seeking to implement in the New Year.

So how did the tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square begin? Well, on New Year’s Eve in Times Square hundreds of thousands of people will gather to watch the Ball Drop ceremony and over 1 billion people will watch the ceremony via satellite. Gathering to celebrate in NYC was a tradition started in 1904, but it all changed in 1907 when the New Year’s Eve Ball made its first harrowing decline from the top of One Times Square. And since then, seven versions of the Ball have been designed. Similar to what we do in the exhibits industry for every one of our clients. We continuously evolve and create new versions of their exhibit booths that are bigger or better, lighter, incorporate smart technologies, beautiful, impactful and memorable…oh, and first and foremost, tie into their goals.

Researching the New Year’s Eve Ball I unearthed so many interesting tidbits and I found a number of parallels with our industry. First of all, it’s an event so those of us in the exhibit and event industry are intimately familiar with all that goes into the planning. Thousands of celebrations will take place in the city, each business trying to outdo the last by creating moments for guests that will have a lasting impression and will be talked about for years to come. This is acheived through creative entertainment choices, feeling safe and secure, and offering unique and interesting culinary delights…all coordinated like a great melodic symphony. Exactly like a great event at a meeting or convention right?

And the Ball itself is a magnificent sphere that is 12 feet in diameter and weighs 11,875 lbs. (I’m thinking its new year’s resolution should be to lose a little weight but I’ll keep it moving). This year the entire Ball is covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles in varying sizes and incorporates the themes of Gift of Harmony, Gift of Serenity, Gift of Kindness, Gift of Wonder, Gift of Fortitude and the Gift of Imagination. These magical crystal shards will include faceted rosettes, long hanging crystals and cuts in the glass representing the inner attributes of resolve, courage, and the spirit necessary to triumph over adversity. No better place than NYC to tie a theme into triumph over adversity, right? Doesn’t this all sound so much like designing a great exhibit booth or a memorable event? Each detail meticulously planned, carefully created and implemented and tied to a theme to achieve the identified results for that particular convention. Very similar indeed.

In 2019 there will be a number of exciting industry trends continuing that will have a significant impact on exhibit design and convention marketing. Focused lighting, multi-sensory experiences, virtual reality, focused comfort, and designs that touch on the entire attendee experience are some of the trends expected to take off in 2019 and you will begin to see more and more of these trends utilized. Some were even utilized when developing the 2019 Times Square Ball. It is clear that exhibitors desiring success will need to embrace change to advance their designs by making them exciting, interactive, memorable. However, while doing so, they must never forget the long-standing, simple rules successful exhibit programs have implemented from the start. Staff training, outlining goals and objectives, lead generation, pre-show promotion, follow-up plans and aligning your program internally with buy-in from key stakeholders. These tried and true staples of successful exhibiting are the foundation to a successful exhibit program in 2019 and beyond.

So on New Year’s Eve, millions of people from far and wide will be watching in awe (or a stupor), the glistening, sparkling and blinged-out Ball in Times Square make its downward journey. It all will begin at 11:59 p.m. when the Ball begins its descent. Nearly a million people in unison, well sort of, will countdown the end of the year then pretend to sing Auld Lang Syne (because no one actually knows all the words). What I find amazing is that this event, viewed and enjoyed by over 1 billion people, is exactly what those of us in the exhibit and event industry do every day for clients large and small.

Well, wait a minute, there is one thing that is different. On New Year’s Eve in Time Square they let the ball drop…but at Poretta & Orr, we don’t drop the ball.

Poretta & Orr wishes everyone a safe, happy and creative New Year!

Poretta & Orr | 215-345-1515 | 450 East St., Doylestown, PA 18901

Jacqueline Beaulieu, HMCC
Director, Strategic Marketing & Client Engagement
Cell: 404.509.4248 |

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