Case Study: Van Cleef & Arpels

Assignment: Event Marketing Campaign
Creative Challenge:  Creating an Immersive Brand Experience



After collaborating on two enthusiastically received premium invitation projects, Van Cleef & Arpels approached us to develop the creative vision for their sponsored event, the 2012 Tribeca Ball benefiting the New York Academy of Art. Understanding the necessary difference between advertising and sponsorship, we set out to create a fully immersive brand experience that simultaneously celebrated the New York Academy of Art and communicated the essence of Van Cleef & Arpels through every event interaction.

Strategy: Start the Party Early

Drawing inspiration from Van Cleef & Arpels high jewelry collection, Bals de Légende, we developed the theme: “Unmasking the Modern Ball.” Recognizing the competitive landscape of spring gala season, early emphasis was given to generating excitement for the Tribeca Ball and to engaging the audience’s interest in the event narrative.

The first opportunity to reveal the “story” to the audience was through the event invitation. Conceived as an interactive piece that embodied the elegant, dynamic formal qualities of the Van Cleef & Arpels brand, introduced the narrative theme of the Tribeca Ball, and functioned as a beautiful keepsake object, the boxed invitation signified the start of the party. Opening the dimensional, interactive piece was an “event” that built anticipation for the primary event. The silhouetted mask motifs and bold colors of the invitation, became the symbolic identity for “Unmasking the Modern Ball.”

The event staging at the New York Academy of Art building was similarly conceived as a sequence of connected immersive moments for the evening’s guests to engage in. We began our gestures at the street, exploiting the building’s existing storefront windows as stages for live, choreographed models, welcoming guests through familiar mask shaped openings and bathed in colored light. Adorned in twinkling Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, the masked models in simple monochrome bodysuits acted as silent hosts throughout the event procession: appearing at landing points, mingling in crowds, and greeting dinner guests in the ballroom. A consistent language of colored lighting, reflective silver, and the bold mask motif was used in dynamic arrangements and spatial configurations throughout the building to lead guests through the various events of the evening that for many culminated in the dinner and dancing in the ballroom. As the final event of the evening kicked-off, seated guests cheered at the “welcome” lighting of the giant custom neon sign of layered masks.

Biggest Bang for the Buck: A Chapter in a Larger Story

We look at every audience interaction we design as one part of a larger brand experience. Working with Van Cleef & Arpels on multiple events allowed us to communicate with their audience using connected touch points to thread a larger story from event to event and to measure success through audience response.