Wednesday, November 25, 2015
EMA Part 2: Impactful Ways to Say “Thank You”

EMA 2015
Those who give the most tend to be equally adept at demonstrating their gratitude. Successful non-profits like the Environmental Media Association (EMA) are especially gifted at saying “thank you” to their loyal supporters. For the past 25 years, EMA founder Debbie Levin has celebrated the people and companies who have helped the organization use the power of Hollywood to shape the national consciousness of the environment in a positive light. And for the past 15 years, EMA has been honoring those efforts with its Environmental Media Awards, a prestigious annual event that has been held at Warner Bros. Studios for the past six years.

Toyota and Lexus have served as the marquee sponsors since the inception of EMA’s awards show in 1991 – the former featured its 2016 Prius at last month’s 25th anniversary event, 15 years after the groundbreaking hybrid car first debuted in Hollywood – while many others have partnered with the organization nearly as long.

EMA 2015

“The key to a long relationship with a sponsor is to ensure that both parties benefit,” said Levin. “Each deal is unique for the needs of the sponsor. We actually have many, many corporate partners of over 10 years because of that. Then eight years ago, we also started the EMA Corporate Board. I realized that we had all these great executives that we work with that didn’t know each other – if they were supporting us, perhaps they could do business with each other as well?” That innovative idea coming to fruition represents just one way EMA maintains tight bonds with its loyal sponsors.

Other approaches are expressed through the event itself. To that end, our Warner Bros. Special Events team in collaboration with event designer Hillary Harris of Hillary Harris Events found beautiful and creative ways to highlight EMA and its long-dedicated sponsors. Here are four examples of how we work with EMA to create a truly “thanks-giving” event that can apply to any charity function:

#1 – Dedicate prime real estate to the sponsors
Any Hollywood event worth its salt begins with a glamorous red – or, in EMA’s case, green – carpet arrival, designed to draw attention to both celebrities and event sponsors. This year, Toyota showcased its 2016 Mirai, giving arriving guests a first-hand view of the newly unveiled hydrogen-powered vehicle.

ema 2015

#2 – Foster the young people
You know the drill: separate tables for kids and adults at Thanksgiving. Well, neither Toyota nor EMA ever denied Prius its place at the big kids’ table, and look at it now! True to form, the all-new, redesigned 2016 Prius was on display this year, along with a special sand sculpture to mark the trailblazing hybrid’s own 15-year anniversary.

EMA 2015

#3 – Dress up!
From the house and kids to the turkey and stuffing, dressing up is a fun staple of any Thanksgiving. And holding an event on a studio backlot is no exception. At the recent EMAs, Lexus took advantage of ample party space to display the latest hybrid NX 300h AWD and CT F SPORT Special Edition, which served as bookends to the VIP seating area. Speaking of…

EMA 2015

#4 – Extend the VIP treatment to everyone
EMA handles all of its sponsors with distinct care and consideration relevant to each company’s objective, working closely with each sponsor showcasing its most important current initiatives. This year, for instance, the Sierra Club used its station to introduce virtual reality tours of the great outdoors.

EMA 2015

#5 Get creative
At the Kellogg Garden Products gifting booth, the exhibit’s design was exciting and fun. Live flower beds on either side of the vignette and free gifts of organic soil and burlap bags were great conversation starters about the benefits of organic gardening.

EMA 2015
And at the combined Border Grill/Mud Hen food station, our team designed a booth that put EMA’s hashtag in lights. There was no missing the message here!

EMA 2015
Ultimately, an effective charity event ensures that the key messages – both from the host organization and its sponsors – seamlessly reach the right audience in the many ways available to us today.

This week, we are thankful for organizations like EMA, who do such great work in the world and allow us to show it and share it. We are thankful for you, our readers, and repay your loyalty with an insider’s view of Hollywood events. And of course, we are thankful for our own team, who come together each week to work hard for you and your future events.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Photos: Nadine Froger