The Public Relations and Advertising Departments of Veuve Clicquot were holding their annual retreat meeting at the grand Chateau in Reims, France. The conference was to last 3 days and employees were to be given tours of the Chateau. The overriding goal ofthe retreat was to bring employees together and re-enchant them with their work, remind them that they work for a world-renowned and unique company. The head of HR contacted the Extant Jesters to see if we could come up with an interesting idea that would help unite employees and make the week memorable. They wanted us to be a fun and interesting presence throughout the retreat and for our company to give an after-dinner performance on the final evening of the retreat.
WHAT WE DID TO PREPARE:
We did our basic ground work research and consultations with HR and employees about the issues and concerns they were facing, and came up with a brilliant plan. We decided to send along 2 actors for the duration of the 3 day retreat, and they would act as “impostures.” They pretended to be the obnoxious husband and wife heirs of Veuve Clicquot.
DURING THE CONFERENCE:
Our 2 actors were introduced to the employees as the heirs and came along on all the tours of the chateaus and champagne cellars. They were a strange pair- had an affluent aire and asked the most ridiculous questions that made even the tour guides chuckle. Our plan went off without a hitch, after only a few hours, employees were brought together by gossip. Who were these strange relatives of Veuve Clicquot? Were they planning on purchasing the company? If so, what did that mean for them as employees? Did you see how the woman was flirting with Luc from HR? Did you see how the husband kept asking about how much everything cost? He is surely planning on taking over the company! The employees were suddenly awake and alert to all the goings on, suddenly united in standing up for the way the company operated, suddenly afraid that all of this would be thrown into turmoil, should these 2 strangers be put in charge. Needless to say, when on the final evening of the retreat, the husband and wife duo joined in the group of entertainers, the crowd was very surprised (and more than a little relieved!)