Nottingham-based Ikano has been providing finance products in the UK for 20 years and works with some of the biggest names on the high street. Owned by the family that founded IKEA, Ikano shares the same values: common sense and simplicity, working together and daring to be different.
Since 2012, Ikano has helped to promote fitness and wellbeing activities in the community by sponsoring the Robin Hood Marathon, Half Marathon, Mini Marathon and Schools challenge, which sees over 10,000 runners take to the streets of Nottingham each year.
As main sponsor for 2015, Ikano was set to host a Pasta Party on the eve of the race, as well as a private hospitality tent on the day at the finish line. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen events, Ikano was left without any event support and MCS was set the challenge of delivering both events in just 10 days.
Having received a 10:00am call that Ikano needed urgent support with the Robin Hood Marathon, the MCS team reworked schedules to arrange a face to face meeting with Ikano by 2:30pm that day. Although most of the preparations were in place for the Pasta Party and hospitality tent, there was still a fair amount of logistical arrangements to be made.
Thanks to our network of trusted suppliers, we were able to call in some favours and quickly secure a band, bar, catering, promotions, balloons and other event support for both functions.
The carb-loading Pasta Party on Saturday 26 November 2015 at ASK in Nottingham was an invite-only event for the winners of a competition that had been run on Ikano’s Facebook page. The venue had already been booked and the menu had been agreed, however we needed to promote the event and get some media attention at the restaurant to make sure Ikano were getting a good return on the investment.
We worked closely with an impeccable team at ASK to maximise the event. They were calm and highly accommodating to our ideas; nothing was too much trouble for them when we conveyed how much we needed to treat and make a fuss of the competition winners.
Having close links with the local council, we were well-versed on the unloading restrictions in this particular area and had factored this in for a quick turnaround without any obstacles. Equipment was in place and we arrived at 6:00pm with a two-hour window to set up and dress the venue.
To create a buzz and a sense of grandeur outside the restaurant, we set up red carpet and a cordoned walkway lined with bay trees and balloon arches. With it being a summer’s evening, the drinks reception was held outside so that passers-by could see something was going on, thereby creating appeal for the press. All this was achieved on a relatively low budget.
Being a family event, we had to carefully consider what kind of entertainment to book to set the right tone for the evening while the guests sat down for their dinner. We set up all the AV and sound production and had local Paralympic Gold medallist Richard Whitehead open the dinner with a motivational speech followed by a relaxed Q&A. An acoustic two-piece band complemented the tone of the evening perfectly by playing upbeat background music.
The band went down a storm and the evening was a roaring success, closing at midnight which was unexpected considering the early start for the runners the following morning!
VIP Hospitality Tent
The VIP hospitality tent on the race day of Sunday 27 September 2015 required an early 5:30am start. Alongside the MCS events team, we had a wonderful group of volunteers from Ikano at our disposal. We started the day with a briefing to clarify everyone’s roles – however the chief purpose of this was to convey the team spirit required to help the day run smoothly, i.e. we required everyone to be flexible and take the initiative if a bin needed emptying or a fridge needed re-stocking.
Our drinks suppler provided the Pimms and soft drinks on a sale or return basis to guarantee we had enough to last the day. We facilitated a hog roast and children’s entertainment at set times throughout the day to keep people coming back to the tent.
Situated right at the finish line, we had a registration desk to keep the tent secure as, amidst all the hype and excitement of this location, we had a number of people trying to enter who were not on the Ikano guest list.
There was much to coordinate in a short space of time, including liaising with local media, arranging interviews between Ikano spokespeople and the first to cross the finish line, and offering families the opportunity to have their photo taken with Ikano guest Paralympian Richard Whitehead.
Being an outdoor event, we pulled on our expertise in health and safety, risk assessment, as well as our standard service offering of AV, logistics and event support. All in all, the hospitality tent ran to schedule and Ikano was delighted with the event. For MCS, it was a huge privilege to be part of such a wonderful local community event.