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Confetti: Anchors Aweigh

A weekend-long christening celebration for Norwegian Cruise Line's two newest ships found Jack Nolan of the Impression Group South, Miami Beach, trolling his advertising background for special event treasure.

For NCL's event, Nolan focused on the company's distinct brand philosophy of “freestyle cruising,” which means “you can do what you want when you want when you're on a cruise ship,” he says. Before fleshing out his creative concept, Nolan says he talked to NCL's executives, its marketing staff and advertising agency. “I met with everyone,” Nolan says. “I'm like the U.N.”

Hired to plan five events for a total of 2,700 guests during a single November weekend with a total budget of $170,000, Nolan says he concentrated on infusing the parties with a general sense of freedom and youthful energy. He also hired Orlando, Fla.-based entertainer Marvelless Mark to bring an “Ambassador of Freestyle” character to several of the events, tying them together with a single branding element.

The weekend's opening event — a Friday night “Sail Away” party aboard the Norwegian Sun — featured aerial artists soaring over a swimming pool. On Saturday evening, the Norwegian Star was the site of a “Moulin-Rouge-esque” party with tropically costumed dancers and a Broadway revue. The weekend ended with a “Lovin' That Freestyle Feeling” party featuring an Austin Powers impersonator and '60s-era go-go dancers.

Nolan says increased security required after the events of Sept. 11 made the logistically complicated production even more challenging. “Everybody who was going to be on the ships, off the ships and coming to our event to help — people who were going to tie a rope — we had to have their name ahead of time and their birth certificate and picture ID,” he explains. Not only did he have to collect personal information from vendors, but he says he had to secure “a complete inventory list of every screw.”

But, he affirms, NCL was very cooperative and enthusiastic, arranging meetings between the Coast Guard and the company's internal security staff. “They were so good because they wanted it to happen,” he says. “I think we wanted it as much as they did. The profit wasn't as important to us as getting it accomplished.”

Impression Group South
400 South Pointe Drive, Suite 1906
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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