My Event World - Allan McLaughlin

Allan McLaughlin, director at BD Network spoke to Event about his entrepreneurial spirit, singing with De La Soul, and executing a global car launch without a physical car.

Allan McLaughlin has created three new divisions since joining BD Network in 2001
Allan McLaughlin has created three new divisions since joining BD Network in 2001

I got into the event industry because I had a brief stint in music sponsorship for an A-list artist on a tour around Scandinavia, and I was both fascinated and then more excited about the production and ‘show’ than the artist performance.

I have worked here since 2001, originally setting up BD Mobile and then the experiential department in 2006. The Staff Room followed in 2011. All three divisions are crucial to successful contemporary events – by driving an audience, creating a first class experience and ensuring we match the event staff to the brand and consumer.

I was attracted to this particular role because I like to make things happen and at BD I’ve been able to be entrepreneurial since day one.

Not many people know that I once sang with De La Soul, badly admittedly.

The best event I’ve been involved was creating a car launch globally without having the physical car. We created the perfect social, PR and experiential campaign resulting in multi-million YouTube views, and more importantly achieving the highest number of test drives the client had ever seen. Ultimately we made something very complicated, simple.

If I could do it all over again I would do it all again, never have regrets.

The one thing I can’t stand is wrinkles. Always make sure your production team bring an iron and hang banners properly. Detail first and last.

Outside of work I spend my time enjoying not being in work.  

If money were no object I would fly a helicopter everywhere.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Fabien Rigall, the founder of Future Films and Secret Cinema. Fabien has proven that putting ‘art’ and creativity at the heart of experiential can create powerful, positive experiences.

If I ruled the event industry I would… Firstly, like everyone else, I would find a way of ensuring that there was a standard way of measuring effectiveness, and that clients understood it. That way more clients would see the value in events and experiential.

Secondly I’d celebrate the staffing side more. We have worked with some amazing staff and there’s a danger that the human side is being commoditised and treated as a media buy. 

More: My Event World - Matt Jones 

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