Almost 16 years ago, many event producers asked me the question: Why are you giving away all your ideas for free?
Not only that, a lot were upset with me because they believed I was giving away industry resources. This was a pre-Google society, and we weren’t watching shows like “America’s Got Talent.” They felt that me sharing ideas was going to take away business, that I was diluting the “black book,” and clients would plan events around us.
Now, 15 years later, you like an act, you hear about a product, you throw a couple of keywords into Pinterest, and you find your resource. I never felt that any of us could give anyone or anything 52 events a year. Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List was formed due to the fact that I was attending conferences on a regular basis and felt that I was not getting tangible information from my industry colleagues. Conferences back then involved us patting ourselves on the backs and hoping that someone would like to work with us. We were all asking our vendors to cover their names on their cases, not to wear logo shirts and not to hand out business cards. I laugh at how paranoid we all were at one time in our careers.
Conferences back then involved us patting ourselves on the backs and hoping that someone would like to work with us.
I just felt that if you showed me a beautiful centerpiece or a stunning structure, I wanted to know: Where did you get it from, how did you do it, and can I use it in my market? When Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List first started, and for many years after that, the ideas were from my 20-plus years of traveling and experience collecting and categorizing pamphlets and samples. My description of the classes I offered back then included me giving you the contact information of every idea or concept, without you having to call me or hire me to use these vendors. The first class had seating for 300 people, and 500 showed up. The next year, we had seating for 500, and the fire marshal made us open air walls because 300 were standing in the hallway. People were hungry for this information.
So, where do I get all these ideas? As I mentioned back in the day, it was my database, and today, literally five to seven new ideas a week come to us via email, while several people also post ideas on our social media pages. Now, years later, the same people that thought I was giving away the wealth are asking me to get their product or act on the list. They now understand the power of why I share and want to get on the list with something new and innovative because our industry is always hungry and it brings the vendor business.
The 15th Annual Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List: 2016 debuted in Orlando, Fla., in January at The Special Event Show. Five MC-approved ideas from the 2016 hot list included:
- Fun to Eat Fruit: A company that puts a custom logo or message on fresh fruit
- Just Bars: A company that produces social, interactive experiences by creating custom-built bars for attendees to use.
- Olate Dogs: A dog act led by Richard Olate and his son Nicholas Olate, who use dogs rescued from shelters to show off dog-friendly pet tricks.
- PhotoTap: A wearable technology that allows attendees to receive photos from event photographers who “tap” a photo onto a wristband from which attendees can upload images directly to social media pages.
- Montreal Rhapsody Orchestra: A energetic musical act that includes a string and brass section as well as a trio of vocalists who perform contemporary hits.
The 2017 list will debut again at The Special Event Show in Long Beach, Calif., on Jan. 12, 2017—so meeting planners better get ready.
For 38 years, Michael has helped define New York City events, consistently raising the bar on event innovation and execution. With Michael Cerbelli’s: The Hot List, Michael identifies fresh trends in the ever-changing marketplace and previews acts and innovations for enhanced experiential marketing.