HighLife was tapped by Compass Real Estate to put on their 2019 Broker Holiday Party. Using element of the venue the HighLife team designed supplemental florals and even a holiday tree installation with silk, paper, and real flowers. The room was accented by warm candlelight, hand blown glass hurricane lamps, stainless steel lanterns and rustic gold votives. The food and beverage were the focus of the evening with an incredible assortment of delicious canapés, desert buffet, and holiday grazing table. The drinks were equally as impressive with holiday smoked Manhattans, spicy Pomegranate Rosemary Margaritas, and Holiday Apple Cider Moscow Mules! ‘Tis the season.
This might be the most important event HighLife has ever planned. The marriage of our owner and creative director Tyler Hollinger to Lauren Maffettone. This late summer, sun drenched, beachy-country club themed wedding (but not on the beach) featured many exciting reveals, delicacies, and intimate moments all weekend long. Although the wedding was on Saturday September 14th the experience began the day before and lasted well into the following week. The entire wedding spanned the entire weekend from Grooms Golf Tournament on Friday, welcome reception Friday night, Grooms 5K beach run the morning of the wedding, the wedding Saturday night, and the good-bye pancake brunch the following day. The rest of the week was capped of with a mini-moon on the beach for the newlyweds. The color scheme of the wedding featured lush late summer greens, polished gold and silver, with pops of blush and red. The bride and groom chose a classic filet and lobster main dish with ample raw bar and a wealth of bites and treats all night long. This perhaps was the most fun any of us have ever had planning a wedding and, of course, being guests! Cheers to the newlyweds
Venue: Stone Harbor Golf Club
Florals: Brenton Wolf Design
Photos: Forever Photo NY
Calligraphy: Victoria Gotwols
Invitations: Niamh Langton
Co-Ordination: Shore Thing Event Services
Band: Batchelor Boys
Cake+Desserts: Maryanne’s Bake Shop
Transportation: Vintage Trolleys
Gown: Francesca Miranda
Tux: Hugo Boss
Services provided: Remote Wedding Planning, Wedding Co-ordination, Guest Management, Creative Direction, Event Production, Event Design, Event Staffing, Talent Negotiation, Vendor Sourcing.
Early October Highlife was tapped by Interview Magazine and the Mavenry Agency to bring to life the 50th anniversary of Interview Magazine and the one and only Michael Kors gracing the cover. The iconic magazine by Andy Warhol has been inextricably linked to Studio 54 since day one. Democracy on the Floor: Warhol at Studio 54. “Dictatorship at the Door, Democracy on the Floor”: That’s how Andy Warhol famously described Studio 54. So we set out with this mission statement to re-create those decadent times.
A frequent guest of Studio 54 Andy was scene as a beacon of the artistic movement in downtown NYC. Notice the wheatpasted Interview Magazine covers seen in the BG. Taking this identity we re-imagined this look and feel for a modern day step & repeat where the NYC style of advertisements juxtaposed with the Interview Magazine cover.
The Infamous White Horse
“It was a beautiful white horse that reminded me of mine,” she writes, “and I made the foolish decision to get on it for a few minutes … No doubt you will agree with me that it is one thing to, on the spur of the moment, to get on a horse in a nightclub, but it is quite another to ride in on one. As an environmentalist and an animal rights defender I find the insinuation that I would ride a horse into a nightclub offensive … I hope that you can understand the difference between ‘coming in’ on a horse and getting on one.”
Oh Bianca. You know what they say “if you see a white horse you have to get on it” it was the custom in Studio 54 for the guests to indulge in many things that are ‘white’ perhaps riding a horse in a club. not the best idea. But for this imagery, we re-imagined it as an instagrammable moment. This new approach allowed people to get up close and take a photo with the model decked in MKC and also the brilliant white steed!
DANCE, DANCE, DANCE
The dancing in the club was probably what everyone came for. They sex, drugs, and debauchery was what everyone stayed for. To encourage this care-free act of inclusiveness the Studio 54 Dancers were decked in Silver with choreographed movements that would make Diana Ross Blush 🙂 Then Adding in the roller girls brought everything full circle.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a disco without the disco balls. Reimagined as a platform stage in the space, this provided not only a stage for the dancers put a branded moment for photos and more.
A preliminary rendering shown here and then the branded UV-Light logo added for a more dynamic moment. This providing more than just a stage to dance on, but an interactive instagrammable vision.
Finally, a good time would not happen without the people involved. Kudos to the team at Michael Kors, Interview Magazine, The Mavenry, and HighLife Productions.
In comparison to the wealth of event and festival experiences that occur in NYC over the course of the summer (i.e., GovBall, Pinknic, la Luna), and many many more it is very clear to me that Secret Summer is by far the best festival in New York City. Below are the reasons why…
#1 THE PRICE
The price of Secret Summer depending on when you buy your ticket is $60-$150 (At the Door) most of the 1000 people who attend Secret Summer purchase a $75–$100 ticket because there are the most of those qualities. In fact in 2019 when we release tickets in April the first 100 $60 tickets SOLD OUT in 2hrs. That’s a testament to the strength of our following. That right there is your ROI and how to judge whether or not what you are doing is working. At Secret Summer all of your drinks are free all day! No other festival can claim this. The first year we actually gave the food away in the ticket price too but that was a huge disaster as people hoarded plates and left half eaten plates all over the place.
For example Pinknic charges you a $90 ticket for the privilege to then sell you glasses of Rosé at $15 a pop. They on top of that sell you a $20 ferry ticket which is actually $2.75 at the ferry…Then on top of that they had to cancel their Saturday event because of the heat and the mayors office issuing refunds (but many people never received that refund and had to write in to request it) so how do you sustain an event with that kind of bad blood…? Other festivals like GovBall everything is for purchase and at a price of $120 plus everything you spend your budget goes up sharply. Then there are the raves in NYC where you pay a very cheap price to be crammed in a small warehouse etc with 7k other sweaty people gyrating. If that’s your thing. At $60 that’s a good value but again nothing is included.
#2 THE QUALITY OF THE DRINKS
To qualify as a cocktail it must have 3 ingredients. 2 is just an emergency and 1 is a problem. Its no secret that the cocktails at Secret Summer are of the highest quality. What Secret Summer does that is so unique is that we pair major liquor brands with ingredients from local farms to create pure magic in a glass. The freshness and quality are evident at first sip. I have attended too many other events and liquor expos where the quality of cocktail is basic and not about the complete experience. From House of Suntory to Aperol to Aldez Tequila, and newcomer Chinola, what the attendee gets is not only exposure to brands they have never heard of but a connection to local farms in their community. This wholesome experience adds to the total picture and rounds out their opinion of the brand itself. In many ways this is why the brands participate.
#3 THE BRANDS, SPONSORS, & PARTNERS
To participate in Secret Summer, a brand has to meet the festivals Aesthetic and match the level of quality. This high level of brands and the integrity of their activations are precisely why the overall experience is so great. Brands that invest in the overall quality of their experience reap the rewards of a depth of brand equity and brand value. How nice it is to effect someone so deeply that they become a fan for life all because of their experience at Secret Summer
#4 THE VENUE
The Foundry in LIC is by far and away the best event space in NYC and an Instagrammer’s dream. This coveted private venue is usually regarded for private events and weddings almost exclusively. This is a rare chance for 1000p to dance and celebrate under its turn of the century stone and ivy decked walls, its rustic cobblestone courtyard and myriad of nooks and crannies crammed with unique artists and eye catching interactions. Just 1 stop from Manhattan and a 20% Lyft discount ride away. The venue is hard to beat.
#5 THE PERFORMANCES
What is different about Secret Summer from other events is that there is no stage. The performances happen all around you all the time for the entire day. You may wander from the Albra room to the courtyard and back again thru the green house and see 4 different performances. This year we had High and Mighty Brass Band headline the festival by playing “MTV Unplugged” style in the round with everyone right there…Meanwhile Chinese dragons surprised guests while wandering thru the courtyard
Posing for pictures, delighting attendees, and interacting with everyone. The festival opened with 2 DJs spinning for a total of 4 hrs setting the mood before the band. In the other rooms guests found bespoke haiku typewriter poetry, the Secret Summer Clique of interactive dancers, hand crafted water color portraiture, psychics, face paint, magicians and more!
#6 THE FOOD
A Small hand selected group of food vendors supplied the eats for 1000p festival goers from BBQ to Tacos, Dumplings, Ice Cream, Mochi, Grazing Platters, afghan comfort food, and more…The wealth of local delights were everywhere and just a short walk away.
Secret Summer after 5yrs is still largely a secret to many people but something tells me this won’t last for long…
THE COUNTRY’S ONLY FARM-TO-BAR COCKTAIL FESTIVAL
SECRET SUMMER RETURNS TO THE FOUNDRY FOR THE 5TH YEAR IN A ROW
ON AUGUST 4th
New York, NY (July 31, 2019) — Secret Summer, a one-of-kind farm-to-bar cocktail festival, featuring unique food and drinks and musical performances will take place at The Foundry in Long Island City (42–38 9th St) on Sunday, August 4th
The 5th annual fete and immersive summer garden party, produced by Tyler Hollinger of HighLife Productions, Andrew Maturana of RAPT Hospitality and Allison Du Val of The Foundry, will welcome 1,000 attendees and feature seasonal farm-to-bar cocktails, unique food vendors, and live musical performances throughout the sprawling venue that includes a 3,000 square foot Main Hall, Garden Courtyard, Greenhouse, Albra Room, and Terrace.
The festivalwill showcase and serve up drinks from the world’s most prominent spirits brands like Aldez Tequila, The House of Suntory, Westward Whiskey, Aperol Spritz, Gem & Bolt Mezcal, The Long Drink, Runa, Mr. Black and more…that will pair perfectly with The London Essence Co: Fine Mixers from distilled essences, and Blue Point Brewery.
“This year, we are excited to be partnering with local farms , Brooklyn Grange Farm (Brooklyn Navy Yard), Windfall Farm (Montgomery, NY), Gotham Greens (Greenpoint Brooklyn + Hollis Queens), Bowery Farming (Manhattan) Lucky Dog Farm (Hamden, NY) and Lani’s Farm (South New Jersey, Bordentown) for the first time to supply the Secret Summer festival cocktail program with some of the most beautiful, local ingredients the season has to offer.” said event producer Andrew Maturana.
KeVita Sparkling Probiotic and Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. will also be on hand, serving their light, delicious and refreshing beverages, while Polar Seltzer and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water will be there to help keep guests hydrated. Elmhurst Milked is offering a variety of delicious iced lattes and coffee with 100% plant-based milks. Guests will be able to drink sustainably with HAY! Straws made from natural wheat stems that are 100% biodegradable. Delicious food offerings include a sustainable raw bar by MF Events and the return of Crazy Taco Mex, Cash Only BBQ and newcomers including Nansense NYC and Mama Margarita’s.Secret Summer gets even sweeter this year with Tipsy Scoop serving liquor-infused ice cream treats up to 5% ABV to satisfy everyone’s appetites and compliment the flavorful libations.
This year’s performers include High & Mighty Brass Band, DJ Dastan, DJ David Hohme, and Mira Fahrenheit. Secret Summer has also teamed up with LYFT to offer festival goers a discounted ride to and from the fest.
Farm-to-bar uses the same ideology that the farm-to-table movement has brought to our food. These vibrant seasonal sippers are prepared with only raw, peak-season ingredients sourced from local farms and paired with the best quality spirit brands on the market. These locally sourced items are skillfully incorporated into the Secret Summer program in many different and exciting ways. Secret Summer’s farm-to-bar program is our way of sharing and celebrating a lifestyle of wholeness, happiness and a passion for quality ingredients and experiences.
About Secret Summer:
Secret Summer is the nation’s first and only “Farm-to-Bar” cocktail festival. It’s a celebration of sustainable mixology, fresh eats, music, art, dance, fashion and more. Vibrant seasonal sippers are prepared with only raw, peak-season ingredients sourced from local farms and paired with the best quality spirit brands on the market. The Foundry in Long Island City provides the perfect location for the party. The fully restored 19th century building boasts 3,000 square feet of raw space with a lush outdoor courtyard that will be open to ticket-holders offering up stunning views of the Manhattan skyline along with a gorgeous indoor Greenhouse. General admission tickets begin at $125, which includes unlimited cocktails and beverages and access to all rooms and performances. For more information, visit www.secretsummernyc.com
The Importance of Branded Live Experiences and FOMO
HighLife Productions August 22, 2017
NIKE, STOP COOKIE-ING ME AROUND THE INTERNET AND STALKING ME LIKE MY EX-GIRLFRIEND KAREN
Tyler Hollinger, Founder HighLife Productions
There is nothing that trumps actually being there. Actually seeing, tasting, feeling, hearing, witnessing, — experiencing. “Feeling all the feels” as the kids say these days. The digital world has done so so much. The Internet is by far the most earthshaking revolution in modern history. It has revolutionized the way we travel, the way we choose what restaurant, where we stay on vacation and even the way we date. In many ways it has connected us with people through a computer or phone and in many ways it has distanced us from actually talking, seeing, interacting with people in real life. Remember the days when you went to a store or a restaurant or a pub because “they knew you” not because of their 5-star yelp review. There has been something lost in actually being there. Actually experiencing THE THING. Taking it in with all the senses and this is why we believe the experiential world to be all the more relevant. These live experiences are more important now, more impactful, more relevant than ever because of technology.!
DO IT FOR THE GRAM
So many things we do in today’s life we do are for social media. “Let’s go to this restaurant because the lighting is great for my pictures on instagram, or let’s go hiking and stream it live on FB or let’s go to this rally and tweet about it or this concert and put it on Snapchat or let’s go outside and look at the eclipse while doing a song on music.ly. Very few people just stay at home and share on social media (we all know who you are and please stop.) No more photos of you in your bed with a “case of the Mondays” no more shots of you on the couch watching GOT. NO MORE. All that pent up “social envy” when you see friends at “that concert” or “that vacation” or “that performance” or “that party.” Social media helps us share experiences. Which is just the point. Get out there and experience. Then tweet it, post it, share it. Show people you have a life that is filled with interesting, vast experiences.
NOT ALL IMPRESSIONS ARE GOOD IMPRESSIONS
Now more than ever experiential marketing is on the rise and should be on the forefront of all brands marketing spends. Yes the digital world has (x) many impressions and (y) many views. But not all impressions are good impressions and not all views are actual experiences. How many times have you seen a pop-up ad on a web-page and you have tried to click that tiny little “x” in the corner to close it as it literally gets in the way of what you want. Well in doing so you have clicked the actual add 4 times telling “Samsung” that you love their phone and their “click-thru” data is miraculously working because you are clicking on it all this time trying to close the damn ad!~ Literally SAMSUNG or whichever brand you prefer is standing in front of what you are trying to get. How many times have you scrolled past a facebook ad that plays a video. You didn’t watch it but the video started playing. Congrats you have “viewed” that video and the marketing people on the other end go back to the brand and say “Guess What”! We are doing such a great job because your video has 8 trillion views! Even though 8 trillion people ONLY SCROLLED PAST IT. Don’t believe the hype the digital marketers are selling you. The last time you bought a shirt or a computer or a television or furniture you did so because you liked it. Not because the brand paid millions of dollars to cookie you around the internet showing you pop-up ads on every page you visit. I don’t know about you but when I google a brand to read about it, then a couple hours later that brands ad pops up on FACEBOOK saying “BUY ME” it doesn’t make me feel good about that brand. No. It’s makes me feel like NIKE is my ex-girlfriend stalking me around the internet lurking, spying, just letting me know “Hi. its me. Karen. I’m doing well. How are you?” How about you not stalk me on the internet Karen. K. Thanks. Why are these brands spending MILLIONS of dollars on internet advertising that do nothing but create the wrong impression.
Depth not Width
The experience is everything. You know what creates a good impressions. The actual act of doing it and doing it well. When we have an experience with a brand, a person, a company — anything. It is how we perceive this to be key. How was it? How did it make you feel? How did it affect you.? As wonderful as Kylie Jenner’s photos are on instagram do they affect you? Do they make you feel great as a person? Odds are they actually kind of have the opposite effect right? Wow like “I wish I had her money” or “Wow I wish I was a thin as her” or “Wow I’m not as pretty.” So it kind of puts this idea of “Followers” “Likes” into a bit more of a context. I argue that not a ton of followers is amazing and not all likes are the same. If someone has 1 million followers and sells ZERO tickets/sales I’d say those followers are worthless. If someone has 200 followers and sells 2 tickets I would say those followers are worth a lot more. It’s all perspective. It’s all situational.
Depth not width. What I mean by this is having an actual impact not a perceived one. Having followers that actually want to be there. that are actual fans, that actually care! — which in the end is what it boils down to. Engaging a community that really cares, that wants to stay up to date or in the know with the latest and greatest. To cultivate this kind of DEEP relationship takes time and attention to detail. Making sure your customer/followers/ticket buyers have the best possible experience.
More and more the millennial attitude is to spend disposable income on experiences not things. Less and less people are owning homes because of the ridiculous costs of mortgages, insurance, taxes, maintenance. This lack of permanence attitude means the next generation is not having as many kids and has little desire for permanence. In place they are spending their money on experiences. Travel, concerts, shows. Entertainment that is experienced based. Nowadays people do things for the social media post. To show their friends they are cool, have cool friends, and do cool things. So get out there. Do cool shit. Just make sure you tag us in the photo 🙂
Tyler Hollinger, Owner
Branded Events: Depth not Width
HighLife Productions March 17, 2017
A Branded event is different and yet the same as a private event. The thesis is always the same — to provide the best time possible for your guests. With branded events however you want to maximize your brand’s exposure and impressions — and not all impressions are good impressions. So how can you do this?
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EVENT
1. Who are you inviting?
The guest list, especially at a branded event, is of utmost importance. These are the people/press/influencers/VIPs you are trying to reach with your message/product. This carefully cultivated list should be filled with people who actually care about you and your product. Depth not width. What I mean by this is that the people who are your fans will propel your message and support you more than the person who is attending because they are getting paid/free drinks/doing it for their own agenda. Carefully think about those around you who are on YOUR side and will be YOUR champion.
A branded event should be all about your brand. It is the star. it is the focus. From the minute your guests walk thru the door and beyond the star of the show should be your brand. This is a delicate line to walk because you want your branding to be present but not “in-you-face.” Classy vinyls on the window, signature cocktails, thematic color schemes all communicate your brands vision and aesthetic w/o saying “BUY ME.” Aggressive, in your face branding and advertising can actually have the exact opposite effect you are trying to build. Think about it like dating. Woo the girl/guy, charm her, flirt, tease, entice. Don’t try to get to home plate at the on the first swing.
3. The Staff.
At a branded event every staff member is a brand ambassador. From the bartender, to the check-in staff, to the waitresses, to the DJ. Everyone is a representative for the brand so having a staff that is courteous, attractive, professional and attractive all help cultivate the premium experience for the staff.
4. Social “Call-to-Action”
Because you want a lasting impact to stay with your guests when they leave you need a savvy social media plan. 1. Facebook event page- this is where all your info is displayed the where, when, why. 2. Ticketing confirmation and RSVP whether it’s splashthat or eventbrite these tools keep track of guests contact info (which is imperative to your mailing list) plus allow more branding activations on their pages 3. Custom hashtags allow you to see the impact of the event as well as cool photos people post themselves. 4. Snapchat geo-filters further propel this conversation outward on a variety of platforms. 5. Also what I like the most “Marco Polo” App which you can send custom video messages to all your attendees with announcements and then thanking them for coming. 6. Finally get everyone to follow your instagram and FB for further updates and news. Give your guests a little treat like a discount code on their next purchase or VIP access just for showing up at this event. Remember to seduce, charm, tease, your fans not go all in for the close right up front.
5. The Wrap Up
So what’s next? Your branded event was a huge success, the venue was amazing, the decor inspiring, the staff charming as hell, and the whole thing went off without a hitch. Video. Text. Voice. These three pillars of marketing are the three content channels with which you should develop assets from your event to keep your brand on the forefront of people’s minds. Use your event vid to chop up into super 1min chunks for IG, Use stills as a little reminder of the great times your guests had, and finally follow up with a blog or an email thanking everyone for coming and give them a little extra discount on the side for being so super cool.
Events are one of the only ways I know to combine all of these things into one element. It’s all encompassing and totally immersive. These are the kinds of things that leave lasting impressions on people. Deep meaningful impacts because they touch the soul and something emotional within us. Seeking this deeper connection is much more meaningful than spreading all your marketing work to as many channels to as many people as possible without saying something meaningful. Depth not Width
HighLife Productions February 14, 2017
NEW YORK SPRING FASHION WEEK IS HERE! NYFW is one of the most exciting times in New York City as prominent designers from all over the world come to premier their new clothing lines. HighLife Productions has worked with many brands in the past from providing cocktails and fine treats before and after shows to comprehensive event design and production. Take a look at some past HighLife Productions Fashion Week events below.
Author: Paul Erlanger, Intern for HighLife Productions
Event Production in NYC
HighLife Productions February 9, 2017
How are you?
We are event producers here in NYC. HighLife Productions is founded on the belief that in our digital age we still want real human interaction. What better way to achieve this than a party. Which is precisely why we are here. Welcome. Have a seat. Have a drink. Have something to eat. Dance. It’s going to be a long strange trip.
A HighLife Wedding is a hand-crafted, bespoke event, realizing your every dream and imagination. We believe in local. We believe in delicious. We believe in creative solutions to make your wedding memorable. A beautiful wedding does not have to break the bank but instead reflect the aesthetic of the couple and the bringing together of friends and family. The HighLife/Rapt Team believes in using top quality, seasonal ingredients, local purveyors, and working with a knowledgeable, detail-oriented staff. Responsible sourcing and innovative thinking is our mission. Your wedding should be one of the most memorable days of your lives and the cuisine and cocktails should reflect that.
Farm-to-Table is more than a buzzword. It’s the backbone of our cuisine. All elements of our cuisine are seasonally organic and locally sourced to ensure the freshest ingredients possible for maximum flavor and unforgettable events. Farm-to-Bar is forward thinking mixology and cutting edge recipes that push the boundaries of cocktail culture All drink ingredients are again seasonally organic and locally sourced. We believe the drinks should be as memorable as the food. The look & feel of your special day should be immersive and transformative We are a full service event production agency and will realize your vision for every detail and nuance that make your event feel hand crafted and special.
Services provided: 360 Degree Full Scale Wedding Planning and Wedding Design, NYC Wedding Planning & Wedding Design Services, NYC Bridal Shower Catering, NYC Bridal Shower Design and Execution, NYC Model Event Staffing, Event Floral Services.