This week innovative media company Pioco organized a Christmas party for its business relations in Shanghai. Normally Christmas parties are all quite similar, a speech, a couple of drinks and some finger food in a bar or hotel. But Pioco is an innovative company, so also their Christmas party was innovative. They called it Christmas Legato. The invitation described it as follows: Christmas Legato will deliver unconventional seasonal messages all in a unique and lavish Gothic atmosphere, which pushes back previous boundaries of romance, warmth and visual impact. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect.
The event took place on the Bund, in the small port at the Huangpu Park that was built for and used by China’s president Hu Jintiao. Through guanxi (good relations) the fast growing company was able to use this location for a few days. The Pioco team built a black tent over it, so the actual party took place right above the river! Pioco’s CEO Steve is not only an engineer, but he actually earned his university degree as an architect. That combination probably led to the design of the tent, because just that already was quite spectacular. You walked down to the river level through small slightly illuminated corridors covered with mirrors, after which you entered a open space with as stage in the middle. The whole place was surrounded by black curtains, so you quickly forgot where you actually were.
The crowd consisted of about 200 guests: clients, friends, partners, media agencies, reporters, celebrities, famous models, government officials and of course company staff. While enjoying a nice glass of wine and some excellent food a very special show started. Beautiful models in extravagant costumes combined with unusual music, quite amazing. I later heard that all models were flown in from Taiwan especially for this show. Because Pioco is a bluetooth media company during the show several bluetooth messages were broadcasted, with among others animations of the show. Steve told me later that he had composed the show himself, inspired by among others the movies “Lord of the Rings” and “Eyes Wide Shut”.
At the end of the show all guests toasted with champagne, while a singer performed a Christmas song. Snow machines started to blow snow over the audience, and soon half the place was covered by real snow. At that moment the curtains opened on the riverside and the beautiful lighted skyline of both Pudong and Puxi was in front of us. But not for long, because one of the advertising ships (ships with 20 meter TV screens on them) appeared in front of the harbor showing themes from the Christmas Legato show. Very impressive!
I stayed around for a while with Peter (Spill Group‘s CEO, who had just arrived in town that morning), talking to some friends, investors and business partners that I met at the party, and enjoying a couple of glasses of champagne. This was a very special event, and Pioco put the bar very high for other companies’ Christmas parties – or for their own future parties. Great job Steve!