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SPOTLIGHT: MKTG Hospitality & Events

In the latest MKTG Spotlight Q&A, we’re featuring our Hospitality & Events team. This 40-person team manages high-end hospitality experiences at sports and entertainment events. The group also plans and executes incentive programs, meetings, and employee events.  They work closely with clients to create, produce and execute uniquely memorable attendee experiences that capitalize on their business objectives and attendees’ affinities, resulting in long and profitable relationships.

The team has hosted small, intimate gatherings for 20 guests to larger audiences of 2,500, from customers and C-Level executives to employees and prospects – bringing the same level of excellence to each:

-Hospitality strategy & asset optimization

-Full event coordination

-Executive hosting

-Meeting planning

-Incentive program development

-Influencer & media events

-Ticket management

-Digital communications & registration

-Ground transportation


-Talent procurement & management


What this group is known for:

-Understanding VIP and C-Level programming specifics

-Delivering for clients with high standards

-Ability to innovate and refresh repeat programs

-Building impactful event programs that resonate with the target audience

-Delivering exceptional concierge-style service

-Impactful brand integration

-Location, property and venue expertise

Q: Tell us a bit about your team and what you do:

A: Our team is made up of 40 event pros who live and breathe hospitality, including our senior leadership team that represents a combined 75+ years with MKTG.  You’ll find our team at major sporting and entertainment events in the US and beyond, entertaining our clients’ stakeholders – whether that be senior executives, customers, employees, and beyond.  We combine client business objectives with live hospitality experiences that provide deeper connections between brands and event attendees.  We always say that we sweat the small stuff, so that our clients don’t have to.  But we also pay equal attention to the larger strategy behind hospitality, the WHY of what we’re doing with every event that we execute.

Q: Who are your key clients?

A: IBM, FedEx, Toyota, Mars, Charles Schwab, Dow, Lexus, AIG, Otis, ARRIS – the first four of whom have been with us for over a decade!  Our work for these clients varies greatly.  For some clients, our work is centered around hospitality tied to our clients’ corporate sponsorships.  For others, it may be their internal or external incentives, their board meetings, their employee training programs, or other bespoke events created from the ground up.

Q: Tell us some tentpole events you work at each year and what you do:

A: Name a marquee event and it’s likely that we’re there, executing hospitality for at least one client, if not multiple – Super Bowl, Daytona 500, Grammy’s, Masters, NCAA Final Four (men’s and women’s), Tony Awards, US Open Tennis, TOUR Championship, Summer and Winter Olympics. At these events we are facilitating the guest journey from start to finish – from the minute they first receive an invitation or hear about the event, through the onsite experience, and finally through post-event communication and event measurement.  For any given event, that could include lodging, transportation, décor, food and beverage, evening functions, in-venue hospitality, guest communication, signage and collateral, gifting, client branding and messaging, and more.  No two events are the same!

Since a lot of our events are tied to client sponsorships, we also spend a lot of time maximizing assets and budgets through the integration of sponsorship assets into the event experience.  What assets does the client have available that might enhance the experience?  Whether that’s backstage or all-access passes, athlete or celebrity meet and greets, inclusion of celebrity chefs, or behind the scenes venue tours – we’re always looking for those moments that take the experience from great to once in a lifetime!

Q: NASCAR events are huge for your team. Can you explain to us how you support clients at NASCAR races. Who are the guests? What do you do for the guests? Are the programs the same week-after-week?

A: Just like the players on the PGA TOUR and the drivers who compete in NASCAR, our team is on the circuit replicating the hosting environment and experience around the country for important customers in our clients’ local markets every week.

The objective is to deliver an immersive brand experience of the same quality in every market, week in and week out, regardless of the location.  That involves not only the logistics of getting our hosting supplies and staff from place to place every week, but also working with different third-party vendors each week on inventory management, menu planning, gifting, scheduling athlete appearances, providing special access for guests (such as “inside the ropes” at a golf tournament or pit and garage passes at a NASCAR race), and a myriad of other items that bring to life the client’s vision.

While we may execute similar events each week, we understand that it may be the first (and sometimes only) time for our guests to attend – so it’s up to us to make sure that we deliver in a way that seems fresh and exciting, regardless how many times we’ve executed the same event before.

Q: How many event days do you think you execute each year?

A: In 2017, we executed over 400 events days and hosted over 25,000 guests.  That’s about average for most years.


Q: What are you best known for by your clients?

A: We are honored time and time again when our clients comment on our white glove treatment. We have a way of making every guest – whether the CEO of a Fortune 100 company or a line-level employee – feel catered to and appreciated, like every aspect of the event was designed with them in mind.  We are all about the small touches that make an event truly memorable for our guests.

We are also known for how we integrate business messaging into the fabric of our events – in a subtle way that is very authentic.  Our clients do have a business objective they are trying to meet with their events…and while building relationships and human connections is always at the top of the list, they quite often also want to share information related to their business…whether it be a new product or service to showcase or general business messaging they want to share with customers.  We spend a lot of time finding the right ways to do this.  The sweet spot is when our integration of the client’s brand, product, service or technology can actually enhance the event experience for guests – that’s when we know we’ve hit a home run.

Q: What are a few of the biggest requests you’ve faced over the years?

A: One is refreshing repeat events.  Frequently our clients are hosting in the same venue in the same city year after year – sometimes for the same guests – so we are tasked with making it fresh and different every year.  What can we bring to the event that makes it seem totally different from previous executions while still staying true to the client’s brand and objectives?  We love the challenge that this request brings to our team and believe that it’s when we do some of our best work.

Another is being increasingly more responsive to individual guest needs, regardless of the ask. We have some fun stories to tell there – most of which we’ll never share.  From a guest not wanting a hotel room with a certain number in it to hunting down a tattoo artist to create a custom tattoo for a guest while they were at an event, and everything in between, we’ve heard it all…and delivered.  It goes back to that difference between great and once in a lifetime.  If there are small things we can do to cater to individual guests, we’ll always do it.  And we’re finding that being able to deliver on those types of requests, in an age of customization and personalization, is more important than ever.

Q: Finally, share with us some trends you’re seeing in the business of hospitality.

A: Hospitality has certainly evolved over the years and client expectations have too. A few of the top trends we are seeing right now include:

-The integration of social causes and thoughtful use of resources into events (including using local resources whenever possible…whether that be ‘farm to table’ culinary offerings or other local vendors for various event elements)

-An increased level of guest participation – interactive, engaging activity that is experiential in nature.  No more old-school cocktail parties.

-Use of non-traditional event spaces and venues, as well as locally-themed functions and activities

-Use of social listening to better craft events that will resonate with audiences

Contact Emily Spiegel ( to learn more about our Hospitality & Events team!




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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 13th, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Experience

with one comment – Latest by: SPOTLIGHT: MKTG Hospitality & Events - Pro Event Network - Blog
[…] By Stephanie Rudnick […]

MKTG Westport Gives Back to St. Baldrick’s

For seven years running, a small group out of the Westport MKTG office have been supporting the St. Baldricks children’s cancer charity, each pledging to shave their heads in return for charitable donations.

Childhood cancers are very different than adult cancers, but less than 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s budget is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research.  That is where St. Bladricks comes in. The foundation funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government. The charity has raised over $39 Million in 2017 alone.

We are very pleased to report that the team of Tom Hendry and Iain McWhirter surpassed their fundraising target of $5K, by raising $7,541 this year, taking the total raised for the charity to over $40K since 2011. Check out their new dos below! 


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 8th, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Welcome to the World Unicorn Charm!

When Lucky Charms began planning the introduction of their first charm in ten years…a UNICORN… they gave MKTG a call to make sure it was as much fun and flawlessly launched, as it was memorable and a shareable experience.

In support of the introduction of the Unicorn charm, MKTG concepted, developed and produced the “Lucky Charms Unicorn Land” at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago that was essentially a “live pop-up book” experience that encouraged the creation and capture of kid’s very own unicorn stories of how the unicorn charm got its magical power.

We created an immersive experience for kids to let their imaginations run wild as they frolicked amongst the Lucky Charms storyline that we brought to life.

The experience: Upon entry into Unicorn Land, the kids were asked to draw what they imagined the unicorn looked like; to tell us what they thought it sounded like; and demonstrate to us what they thought its power was. In another area of activation, they got to meet Lucky the Leprechaun in person, jump into the “Charms Chase” booth to capture magical prizes, and best of all, walk away with a new box of Lucky Charms complete with the new unicorn charm.

To bring all of the elements together we also produced a live puppet show that featured Lucky and the Unicorn. The participants were then asked to deliver their own show where they expressed their own personal interpretation of how the unicorn got into their box of cereal and what the unicorn’s magical power is.

In the end frankly, the big kids and the little kids had a blast. Take a look at the gallery below to get a taste of the action! Also, if you want to learn more about the activation, reach out to Erica Calhoun, Chad Shirley, Brianna Engleke, Cam Armstrong, Kurt Russell or Donald Dahl.


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

May 1st, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Wine, Women & Words in SF

To continue the momentum of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in March, MKTG San Francisco hosted their first Wine, Women & Words event. The idea behind this event is to bring together a community of women in the Dentsu Aegis Network and start a dialogue around their stories, challenges and accomplishments.  To a packed house of women and men, the panelists shared their stories of how they got into the industry, how they’re breaking down barriers and how they navigate and juggle daily. Panelists included:

Alexandra Ivacheff, Head of Business Development, Fetch

Lauren Zaner, Group Account Director, MKTG

Roz Chinchiolo, Managing Partner, Fetch

Kaelyn Malkoski, Senior Brand Strategist, character

Well done San Fran! We love this!

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

April 30th, 2018 at 4:50 pm

Posted in Experience

with one comment – Latest by: Wine, Women & Words in SF - Pro Event Network - Blog
[…] By Stephanie Rudnick […]

FanSided Profile: Elliot Gerard


Our very own Elliot Gerard was featured on FanSided in a piece chronicling the incredible journey he has been on since 2017, when LeBron James himself came across a collaborative illustration Gerard created with his partner John Boyce and posted it across his social channels at the start of the 2017 NBA playoffs. Since that time, Gerard, now an Executive Creative Director here at MKTG, has worked with over 30 artists to create a collection of illustrations that pay homage to each of the 30 teams that make up the National Basketball Association (NBA). Congratulations Elliot! You are the epitome of collaboration and innovation and we’re grateful to have you in the MKTG Family! National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

April 30th, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Five Questions With…Christine Ralph

Welcome to “Five Questions With…”

This series shares a deep dive into what makes the #HumansofMKTG tick and help make up this great family. In the latest edition, we’d like to introduce you to Christine Ralph from MKTG Atlanta. Make sure you read all the way through as there’s a great reveal at the very end! Thanks Christine for sharing a bit about yourself!

Q: What do you at MKTG and what’s a typical day/week like for you? (who do you interact with, what keeps you busy)

A: I am an account services manager out of the ATL office. Currently starting to plan for this year’s US Open with our USTA client, Net Generation. I grew up playing tennis and played in college, so Net Gen is by far one of my favorite clients. I work closely with production and creative for my programs to see things from start to finish- it’s so great to be a part of a program in whole. Also, I’m coming into my 8th year with the company!

Q: Who inspires you personally and professionally and why?

A: Someone that inspires me personally is my mom. I feel like that is a cliché answer, but like many other people, it’s true. I always see how hard working my mom is, she’s the ultimate hostess and always puts family first. My two brothers and I are very lucky to have such great parents as influences in our lives. Professionally, I would say it has to be Ellen Degeneres. Can we talk about how this woman can do anything?! She literally makes the world a better place and that is hands down, so inspiring.

Q: What excites you about your work?

A: I think the most exciting part of my work is that the programs and events always change. Nothing is ever the same and we are always trying to come up with the next best thing for our clients. The sky is the limit and it allows our creativity to soar, thinking of the next best activation for a brand. How fun is it to come to work every day and let your imagination run wild? Traveling is also a passion of mine and I love that I get to experience new places along with work.

Q: What are you watching (TV, films, docs, reality, etc.), listening to (radio, podcasts, books, etc.) and reading (which blogs, sites, books, mags, etc.)


This is Us- joining the bandwagon late, I know

The Voice- anyone else love how funny Blake and Adam are?!

Anything HGTV- Joanna Gaines is my spirit person

Food Network- Chopped is one of my favorites


Love anything mystery or true crime (Serial)

I also may get a little guilty pleasure of reality tv listens in here or there

XM is always playing in my car on country music- I’m a big Keith Urban fan

Q: Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it?

A: I am more of a night owl, but my morning routine consists of my Chocolate lab pup playing with the door stopper to let me know it’s time to get up. Seriously though, every morning and I have videos to prove it. I make some breakfast- go to is eggs and a smoothie, turn on GMA and get ready for work. As soon as I get into the office, I make a cup of green tea and then I’m ready to conquer the day.

Q: BONUS QUESTION: Anything else you want to share? Do you have a special talent? Passion? Hobby?

A: One exciting thing happening in my life right now is my husband and I are expecting a little girl in July- our first! We are beyond excited and can’t wait for this next chapter in our lives of being parents.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

April 30th, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Posted in Experience

with one comment – Latest by: Five Questions With…Christine Ralph - Pro Event Network - Blog
[…] By Stephanie Rudnick […]

Predictions from the Pros: Sports in 2038

This week’s SportsBusiness Journal issue was dedicated to its 20th Anniversary. They reached out to MKTG to provide our predictions about what the sports business will look like in 20 years, 2038 to include in a special section. Many thanks to Mike Reisman for contributing his predictions to the SBJ. I’ve also included a few from Gavin Blawie, and while they didn’t quite make the print version, they’re great insights nonetheless!

“Media and brand reach for sports marketers exponentially increased by simulcasted holographic delivery into arenas, public spaces and stadiums;  traditional passions for teams are replaced by individual performances due to an increasing appetite for exotic gambling outcomes and participation through interconnected networks and fantasy sports platforms. Sports marketers must adjust brand standards accordingly.” — Mike Reisman, President, MKTG Sport & Entertainment



Gavin Blawie

The future of sports will be all about multi-POV storytelling, for people believe people and fans relate to fans best, and social and mobile will go away as that will be redundant to all comms.

Building on the official broadcast and conversations across social platforms we see happening today, multiple cameras will cover every player’s individual actions and offered up as a customizable viewing option, and multiple feeds will be incorporated into official broadcasts and vice-versa.

Fan-curated content, sharable moments and highlights will become their own official companion content streams that will be as popular as the underlying games, customizable to teams and players.  And the most prolific and best content creating/commentating fans will be compensated for helping spread their fandom.

Much like the occasional ref cam or hot lap shared, tomorrow’s players will be equipped with individual, high-quality cameras and sensors to create rich, player-first and player-specific multimedia POVs to complement and enhance the official broadcasts (sold at a premium).

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

April 30th, 2018 at 2:11 pm

MKTG Music: France


Late last year, the team at MKTG in France launched a formal music practice called MKTG Music. Lead by Thomas Blanc, MKTG’s Deputy General Manager, the team supports brands by developing relevant relationships using music (musicians, pieces of music, DJs, composers, producers), culture and collective passions to help them connect to their targets.

The offer proposes to support brands in an alternative cultural and creative territory and to create content and experiences that will develop brand influence and the engagement of their audiences. MKTG Music has already collaborated with the artist Claptone (DJ, producer of electronic music and masked artist) to orchestrate the launch of the new limited edition Cubanisto by Claptone.

Check out their mission statement below and contact Thomas Blanc for more details!


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

April 9th, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Five Questions With…Natalie Cerone

Natalie is from Chicago and LOVES her Cubbies!

Welcome to “Five Questions With…”

This series shares a deep dive into what makes the #HumansofMKTG tick and help make up this great family. In the latest edition, we’d like to introduce you to Natalie Cerone from MKTG Atlanta. If you’re ever in town and looking for an early morning exercise partner, or someone to enjoy a glass of vino with, Natalie is your girl! Enjoy!


Q1: What do you at MKTG and what’s a typical day/week like for you? (who do you interact with, what keeps you busy)

While my role at MKTG is primarily in Client Services supporting our Cupcake Vineyards program, you can also find me hanging around the Creative team, providing copywriting, strategy, and project management support to various RFP responses.

Q2: Who inspires you personally and professionally and why?

Lena Dunham. Now, before you start listing off all the reasons why she might not be the best first choice for a role model, let me explain. Say what you want about the girl, but you can’t deny that she is a) an incredibly talented hard worker and b) completely and utterly her own person and not afraid to express that. At the age of 26, she had already written, directed and starred in her own Emmy Award-winning television show. As someone who studied the same industries (writing and media) at the same time as Dunham, I can’t help but be inspired by her. For those of you who still aren’t convinced, let’s go with JK Rowling. Badass female authors who used their talent, unwillingness to give up, and quirky, unapologetic personalities to build an empire – that’s my type.

Q3: What excites you about your work?

The unlimited potential to create. When it comes to the opportunities I get on a daily basis to use my imagination, creativity and strategic thinking…sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned. Brands are rapidly evolving and becoming bolder, braver and more playful while continuing to challenge the norm and take a stand – which gets me excited, as I try to identify with those same characteristics both personally and professionally. It really is such an exciting time to be in this industry, doing what we do.

Q4: What are you watching (TV, films, docs, reality, etc.), listening to (radio, podcasts, books, etc.) and reading (which blogs, sites, books, mags, etc.)

Watching: I’ve finally allowed myself to start watching the final season of my all-time favorite show, Girls. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want the “newness” to be over. I’ve also found myself knee deep in the documentary section of Netflix – watching anything from true crime to nature exploration to culinary trends.

Listening: Anything Hotel Costes-eque. Chill/house/electro is my sweet spot. At this moment, the new CHVRCHES singles are on repeat and I’m patiently awaiting their Love Is Dead album release.

Reading: It’s always changing – I’m almost never without book in hand in my free time. My current recommendations include: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles and The Beautiful & Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Q5. Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it?

EXERCISE AND COFFEE. If someone had told me a few years ago that I’d be the type of person who gets out of bed before sunrise to exert physical energy, I would have laughed into the sunset. Mornings have never really been my thing, but now I’m hooked. I love getting into work, coffee in hand, already feeling accomplished by 9:00am (I know, I’m that person).

BONUS QUESTION: Anything else you want to share? Do you have a special talent? Passion? Hobby?

I used to be fluent in Italian. I’ve lost touch a bit as of late, but I can still hold a conversation. If anyone wants to practice, you know where to find me.

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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

March 29th, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Experience

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with one comment – Latest by: Five Questions With…Natalie Cerone - Pro Event Network - Blog
[…] By Stephanie Rudnick […]

Sun Life Financial Dunk For Diabetes

In partnership with the Toronto Raptors, NBA Canada and Boys and Girls Club of Canada (BGCC), Sun Life Financial launched its Dunk For Diabetes Program.

Over the four weeks, participants in the BGCC take part in a program focused on healthy and active living. These weeks include fundamental exercises that instill healthy habits & physical activity, while providing awareness surrounding Type 2 Diabetes.

Participants are given the opportunity to win weekly prizes, based on the completed number of workouts and healthy habits.

Along with negotiating the partnerships, MKTG developed the strategy, and currently are planning and executing the program nationally, bringing it to life at 26 Boys and Girls Clubs, in 6 cities, across 5 provinces, reaching over 1,100 kids.


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Written by Stephanie Rudnick
Stephanie Rudnick

March 28th, 2018 at 3:40 pm