For two years the DiVi Awards succeeded in honoring excellence in DVD, but failed to gain recognition among leaders in the entertainment industry. Not until Douglas Cohn & Wolfe was commissioned by the International Recording Media Association to redesign and re-introduce the show, did it gain meaningful exposure among targeted industry influencers.
DESCRIPTION OF CHALLENGE
In February 2000 the International Recording Media Association (the advocate for the worldwide recording media industry) approached Douglas Cohn & Wolfe regarding the 3rd Annual DiVi Awards, to take place during the DVD Entertainment 2000 Conference – the world’s largest conference and technology showcase for DVD decision makers – on August 23, 2000. IRMA’s two-fold purpose in hosting the show was to raise awareness for IRMA among the entertainment community and to advance the DVD format.
DCW’s challenge was not simply to create an event that would recognize outstanding achievement in DVD Entertainment and consequently satisfy IRMA’s goals, but was also to convince industry leaders that the 3rd annual event would be a valid, worthwhile evening that should not be missed.
In response, DCW’s first task was to determine why a lack of interest in the first DiVi Awards existed and to ensure that those obstacles would not happen again. DCW leveraged strong relationships in the entertainment community to find solutions to these problems. Conversations with all the major motion picture studios and independents ensued. The result of these discussions was an understanding of previous years’ problems and a new-found trust among the studios that the 3rd annual DiVi’s would be much improved.
DCW’s friends in the technical community assisted in targeting qualified judges to evaluate entrants. A variety of judges were selected, including prominent industry executives as well as selected members of the press.
Twelve appropriate categories were selected as the basis on which DVD titles would be evaluated. From each of the categories, three titles were selected as finalists, with the most exceptional being awarded the DiVi Award during the show.
Selecting a host was also key to presenting the awards with Hollywood flair. DCW maintained that selecting a host with strong ties to the community as well as a reputation as a proponent of the DVD format, was critical. Leonard Maltin, renowned critic and writer, accepted IRMA’s offer and the entertainment community was extremely pleased.
Finally, DCW concentrated on creating an overall enjoyable, entertaining atmosphere that would set itself apart from the previous shows. The Big Phat Band, with a DVD recently released on store shelves, was approached to provide entertainment for the evening. The 20 piece band was exceedingly popular and certainly achieved the desired goal.
To ensure the 3rd Annual DiVi Awards would garner the desired attention among industry leaders and media alike, DCW implemented the following:
- Drafted and disseminated consumer and trade press releases announcing the 3rd Annual DiVi Awards, with Leonard Maltin as host, to print and electronic media.
- Drafted and distributed a media advisory to secure calendar listings as well as to invite print and broadcast media to attend.
- Secured pre-event coverage in key Hollywood trades, including Daily Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and Video Store Magazine.
- Produced eye-catching 3rd Annual DiVi Awards signage that was strategically placed at the event to ensure inclusion in all photo ops.
- Personally urged studios to submit their titles for review.
- Approached studios for 250 of their winning titles for inclusion in gift bags.
- Secured 250 each of 12 DVD titles and assembled in gift bags, that were offered to every guest of the show.
- Personally invited and secured attendance of key industry leaders.
- Aggressively pitched national media before and after the event to secure muliple media hits following the August 23 event.
On August 23, as part of the 2000 DVD Entertainment Conference at the Universal City Hilton and Towers, more than 150 guests and media attended the much anticipated 3rd Annual DiVi Awards ceremony. The evening succeeded in providing DVD publishers with the opportunity to celebrate their best work from the year and went on without a hitch.
With a staff of 4 in attendance, DCW handled everything from soup to nuts … from working the media and photographers for photo ops to assisting Mr. Maltin in handing out awards on stage to operating the devious Power Point presentation to overseeing food and beverage and ensuring a good time for all.
Most importantly, key industry leaders shared their excitement and congratulated IRMA on a job well done, ensuring that the 4th Annual DiVi Awards would be penned in many 2001 calendars. In addition,
- The volume of titles submitted as part of the awards was more than expected.
- Actual attendance at the event was exceptional and surpassed expectations, especially among those in the entertainment community.
- Coverage of the awards was secured in key trade and consumer publications including Billboard, Total Movie and Video Store.