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MERCK Annual Kickoff 2016

Three days. Four venues.

MERCK Annual Kickoff 2016

Three days, four venues, 50 tons of material, a 115-head crew, 400 guests, 2,000 m2, one client—Merck. That kind of brief would surely rattle many a fledgling manager on the events scene. David Busse’s feathers, however, remained unruffled. A satis&fy man from Berlin with just two years as a project orchestrator under his belt, he rose to the occasion. But was it skill or sorcery?

Client Touch Associates (UK)
Date 12.10.2015
Services Lighting Audio Video Rigging Staging Exhibit Construction Furniture Event Design
Corporate Events

The hand of fate certainly moved in mysterious ways to get this gig off the ground. Merck, a global pigments, pharmaceuticals and ­liquid crystals giant based in Darmstadt, planned to congregate and celebrate in Berlin, reviewing the past and prepping for the future at a convention with all its executives on hand. The UK agency Touch Associates got the nod, and selected four locations in Berlin—the Axica, WECC (Westhafen Event & Convention Center), Classic Remise, and The Pearl. At the time, Touch Associates had no idea that satis&fy has partnered with these hot Berlin venues for years. Happy coincidence or magic touch? Either way Merck’s big event was to be imbued with a fresh, new spirit. The company had revamped its corporate design and aimed to fly those new colors proudly at the convention. It was up to David Busse and key account project managers Fritz ­Andres (Axica), Pascal Brandenburg (Classic Remise) and Frank ­Simon (­Karben Services) to ignite this spirit with a stunning showcase.

Spectacular projections splashed the new corporate identity across the walls of the WECC’s great hall in a torrent of ­kaleidoscopic colors. It took some serious hardware, nifty programming and a 270-degree background projection, supported by eight 13k and six 10k projectors and 14 backdrops, to conjure this illusion. It all looked to be controlled by phantom hands, but the crew in the massive media center may also have had some say in the running of the show.

This huge set actually featured a lot more scenic stuff than the stage itself. Was it magic that turned the classic conference center Axica, the memory-lane experience venue Classic Remise, and the hip Berlin nightclub The Pearl into Merck hotspots? David Busse denies any supernatural intervention. He believes it’s all about the 7Ps—proper planning, preparation and practice prevents poor performance: “The bigger the event, the more precise the planning. Every nuance affects the next; everything’s interconnected and interdependent, especially with lighting, video, sound, rigging and scenic to cover several thousand square meters.” The toughest task was responding to spur-of-the-moment changes, but still sticking to a schedule that had been fine-tuned over months. But even that challenge was mastered with a hand that only skill, and not sorcery, could stretch forth. 

There’s no magic formula or mystical forces you can call on to guarantee events as complex as this will succeed. The only thing that comes close is the one-stop solution. It’s a natural force, and the long of it is this: An agile organization staffed with remarkably flexible specialists, supported by meticulous planning and coordination among the various services, gifted with intuition informed by decades of practice and tough training, all orchestrated with expert guidance. The short of it is satis&fy.

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