This past Tuesday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, 3,500 people came together to “WOW” New York by breaking all records raising funds to help the city’s neediest. A whopping 72.6 million dollars was donated in that single evening, and every single cent of that money will go to the people that need it most – thanks to the very generous Board of Directors that underwrites the entire cost of the benefit. It is with great pride that we did our part, again collaborating with our long-time client, Robin Hood, to re-think this important evening.
Guests entered the cocktail pavilion through the very center of a Robin Hood archery target.
With a serious world recession as a backdrop and Wall Street scandal still fresh and burning, it was a unanimous decision to do away with the over-the-top excess of previous years. This year, there were no more auction packages where guests could bid on unnecessary, once in a lifetime opportunities: private yoga classes with Madonna, lunch with Steven Spielberg, a walk-on role in the next Scorsese film. This year guests opened their hearts and wallets for the sheer good of helping – NOT for what they would get in return.
We turned to IML technology for help with the pledging. The IML instrument looks like that very first, clunky cell phone that we all had, but with the device, each guest pledged (privately) any amount they so desired, plugging in the numbers on their personal key boards. The collective results were then instantly broadcast on grand screens for all of the audience to see. In these times, when wealth is gauche to flaunt, generosity registered without the public spotlight causing personal embarrassment. And register it did! About 30 million dollars were taken in that evening just from the IML auction!
We had a design problem on our hands, though. How did we integrate these devices (3,500 of them!) on to the tables without it looking like a mess of TV remotes? Instead of flowers for each dining table, we created 3 dimensional cityscapes where silhouettes of buildings integrated the IML devices into their mini-skylines until the guests were prompted to each take hold of their devices. Neat, clean, and clever, the buttons on the devices looked like the grids of building windows. The centerpieces were both cool and functional, and reinforced an evening where the visuals were lean but direct and powerful.
350 mini cityscapes create a grand cityscape when merged together. Here, each unit awaits their IML devices, lined up on work tables during set-up.
We are very proud of the design. It was initially a challenge to boil our visual language down to the essence – I’ll admit that. This is especially true because this event had always been an open showcase of grand visual gymnastics for us in the past. But frankly, I think that the visual gymnastics are still there even though there is much less STUFF. Good design is about making every visual moment matter, and I don’t mind being challenged with the shifting rules of any game. In fact, that is what makes design so fascinating, right?! On this grand scale, a challenge such as “Let’s have less stuff, but let’s make the stuff that we have even more direct and meaningful” is pretty awesome.
A big thank you to our buddies at Robin Hood for the challenge, the faith, and the opportunity. It is with great pride that we were able to RESPOND to your call, and we sincerely congratulate you on your accomplishments. You do a lot of good for a lot of people.