My Event World - Sally Durcan

Sally Durcan, MD of experiential agency Hot Cow, on attempting world records, looking after Robbie Williams and cutting the b***s*** from pitches.

My Event World - Sally Durcan
My Event World - Sally Durcan

I got into the events industry because I have always loved entertaining people and I find that events give people great entertainment and excitement no matter what their age.

I have worked here since 2005 when I founded the company after working for a number entertainment companies such as MTV, Universal Pictures and various film agencies.
Not many people know that I worked on a TV program called Who Dares Wins in Australia coming up with dares for contestants. It was one of the most fun and rewarding jobs ever.

My worst experience at an event was when BT didn’t install a broadband line in time and we had to resort begging and borrowing to sort something out.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s everybody matters - from the client to the promotional staff - they all have a valid and important role in making a campaign work.

The best event I’ve been involved in was MTV European Music Awards. It was chaotic, completely mad, but heaps of fun. Also our Powwownow event where we had three celebrities in a bed attempting a world record for the longest ever three-way conversation.

If I could do it all over again I would pounce on Robbie Williams. Just to clarify this point, we were assigned various celebrities to look after at an awards ceremony and I was lucky enough to be assigned Mr Williams, running his errands and making sure he got on stage in time.

The one thing I can’t stand is people talking a load of b***s*** to just win the job or making a loss on a job to win the business to later increase costs. It affects everyone in the industry and it is bad for business.

Outside of work I spend my time travelling, meeting up with friends, swimming, canoeing, reading and skiing.

If money were no object I would have a private jet, a chef and travel all around the world to the most exotic and exciting places.

The one event I will never miss is any ski and snowboard show mostly because I love skiing and always get pre-season excitement. Industry wise, events by the Institute of Promotional Marketing are great as they offer leading insight into up and coming industry trends.

The recession has meant that we have be more clever in how we help clients reach their target audience and need to use different tactics and strategies to be more cost-effective.

The next 12 months will be about building loyalty and keeping the consumer engaged.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Hugh Robertson. I admire how he has grown his business over the years and continues to expand.

If I ruled the event industry I would have more barriers to entry so that it doesn’t adversely affect our industry and bring leading event industry people together to agree best practice working standards.

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