Editor's letter

How did the creative event suppliers behind the £1.5m visitor attraction erected next to London's Tower Bridge using 200 tonnes of ice get it so wrong? The demise of Ice Space after just four weeks due to lack of visitors offers lessons for anyone involved with the purchase of creative events.

Ice Box managing director Phillip Hughes and former Esprit director Peter Pallai believed that translating a creative environment into a structure where tourists could marvel at ice sculptures, drink vodka shots and go ice skating during the summer would capture and then maintain the public's imagination.

It was a bold move and far outstretched anything Ice Box had ever built.

This was part of the problem. Sponsors, including Capital Radio and Red Bull, were not tied in for an investment that would catapult the venue immediately onto the London tourism map, while the spiralling costs of keeping a project running without the promise of visitors didn't add-up. The party to launch Ice Space attracted the calibre of press and celebrity to make an impact, but that's what creative event suppliers do best - produce short-term impact. When the wow factor melts away, the real work of ensuring guests return to do business has to begin. It's about what you do after your ice house has opened that will ensure customers are still queuing at your door.


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