It’s here. The 2016’s bizarre election campaign is coming to a head this evening and savvy bars and venues around London are getting in on the action with themed election nights.
I hardly need to explain why dressing up a Tuesday night is a smart move for bars; it’s no surprise to want to liven up an otherwise quiet evening of the week. But what it has made clear to me is how important committing to a theme is.
The events that stand out most for me are the ones where every element contributes to the overall theme.
Popbitch’s Presidential Party at Dinerama in Shoreditch is a great example of this. There’s cohesion in everything from the website copy playfully teasing both candidates to what’s at the event itself. And rather than just playing lip service to following the election, there are TV screens showing coverage from various networks all through the night. There is also an inspired pin-the-toupé-on-Trump game.
While Popbitch taps into the mania around the election it’s far from the only effective promotion I’ve seen. The Social is also showing the election and is offering the obligatory themed drink but it’s trump card (pun not intended, but in hindsight I wish it was) is inviting experts from Simple Politics to help explain the more complex issues and discuss potential outcomes.
Both events wisely keep tongue firmly in cheek but also have a strong sense of identity. There’s no slipping into a general U-S-of-A theme and they’re stronger for it.
Of course, you don’t have to drink when following the election. After the dust has settled a little on 17 November, UCL is hosting a roundtable discussion everything from the election itself to the legacy left behind by Obama.
When planning events, it’s important to keep asking yourself "why". Are you including things for the sake of it or because they add something?
Whether you decide to be at a bar, at home watching the news or just tucked up in bed, let’s hope everything’s still here in the morning.
Hayley Lawrence is director of events at agency Brand and Deliver.
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