What’s it known for?
Berlin has been witness to some of the most dramatic and turbulent events in 20th century history, with its most famous landmark – the Brandenburg Gate, viewed for decades as a symbol of division between the eastern and western parts of the city.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall back in 1989, however, Berlin has built a reputation as a creative and cultural powerhouse with a buzzing and eclectic nightlife. As the capital city of Germany, is it seen as a trendsetter for fashion, design and music.
The city is home to the Berlin International Film Festival, one of the film industry’s most prestigious annual events, the world-famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and three world-class opera houses.
As a city, Berlin has a very cosmopolitan vibe but visitors can also get a real sense of Old Berlin by exploring the Hackesche Hofe, a rare example of art nouveau architecture in Berlin and a vibrant quarter hosting a range of art, gastronomy and entertainment options.
About one-third of the world’s 50 largest companies have offices in Berlin, while many smaller companies contribute to the city’s innovative environment.
Most of the Berlin Wall was demolished in 1990 but it’s still possible to visit a restored stretch. Other must-see historical sights include Checkpoint Charlie, the east-west border control during the Cold War and the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin’s highest construction is the 365-metre TV Tower at Alexanderplatz, with a rotating viewing platform.
Another landmark is the Reichstag building, the seat of the German Parliament, designed by British architect Norman Foster, and featuring an impressive glass dome.
For an insight into the city’s culture, head to Museum Island, a Unesco-listed World Heritage site and home to five of the city’s most important museums, including Pergamonmuseum, housing one of the world’s most important archaeological collections.
A hotspot for brands
The 26th and biggest Cisco Live! ever held in EMEA took place in Berlin in February, organised by George P Johnson. The event was influenced with cues from German architecture, such as Bauhaus and featured more than 110 exhibitor stands.
Berlin is also host city for ITB, the international travel trade show, which this year featured an activation from Emirates and agency Pulse including virtual reality, interactive screens and a VIP area. Agencies Fuse and TRO delivered Nissan's Champion the Fan activation at the UEFA Champions League Festival in Berlin in 2015 while Nescafe also used the city for a stunt where it delivered free coffee to passers-by in Berlin.
The campaign saw Nescafé install two red coffee machines on a set of pedestrian traffic lights on the opposite sides of a Berlin street. The machines were each equipped with a display as well as cameras which could be used to video call the individual on the opposite side of the road. They also featured a large button complete with the words ‘press together’. Upon pressing the button, the machine would reveal its hidden coffee dispenser.
Berlin is also proving a draw for brands hundreds of miles away. Drinks brand Jägermeister teamed up with Berlin pop-up Brünch to host two German-inspired food and beverage events in London in March, aimed at immersing guests in the culture and history of Berlin.
German live communications agency Vok Dams has a Berlin branch, which this year was responsible for the opening event for ITB, held at Citycube Berlin, which featured video and 3D mapping.
Brand activation agency Geometry Global, part of WPP also has an office in the city. Avantgarde has several branches in the country, including Berlin, with clients such as Mercedes Benz.
Daniel Naegele is chief creative officer, Europe, at Uniplan. This summer, the agency staged an interactive concert premiere by Henrik Schwarz’s electro-acoustic trio – based on the intelligent connectivity between people, technology and emotions, for the launch of the Audi A5 Coupé, which took place at Audi City Berlin.
Naegele believes Berlin is a popular place for brands to stage events because of its dynamism. "Agencies, startups, artists, musicians: with its dynamic and sometimes even excessive vibe Berlin is home to lateral thinkers and progressive doers," he says. "Inspiration around every corner and an insatiable thirst for unconventional approaches is what makes Berlin so interesting for brands and for us as a creative agency – with dozens of hidden locations still to be discovered. Magnificent luxury, minimalistic understatement, alternative underground – you can find anything in Berlin."
This, paired with the national media scene, adds Naegele, makes Berlin what it is: the beating heart of the European creative scene and the place to be.
Where to host an event
For panoramic views of Berlin and its TV Tower, opt for bar and club House of Weekend, which opened its Panorama Loft last year, catering for up to 200 people for events, alongside other available spaces.
Located in the city’s former newspaper district, Forum Factory Event Gallery can host up to 400 guests and caters for a range of events, from fashion shows to launch parties.
For a more intimate, trendy venue, head to Birgit & Beer in the Kreuzberg clubbing district. The venue features cool concrete and decor featuring parts of old fairground rides and can host up to 50 for parties.
And another thing
One of Berlin’s more popular attractions, opened this year, is World of Cyberobics. With a large studio on Alexanderplatz, it’s the fitness club of the future, with pre-recorded and pre-designed classes displayed one of the biggest LED screens in Europe.
Comment below to let us know what you think.
For your daily hit of news from the brand experience community, weekly brand and inspiration updates or your monthly trend download, register and subscribe to Event and our bulletins.