AMC Upfront 2014
March 2014. New York, NY, Pier 36
In 2013, Empire worked with AMC to create what would become one of the most innovative and talked-about events of the year for AMC’s first-ever Upfront.
In April 2014, AMC raised the bar again, challenging us to deliver an event that would wow their guests in a completely new way and deliver on AMC’s tag line of ‘Something More’. Working together with AMC over the course of many months, we reimagined the upfront as an epic, seated dinner that would allow the guests to experience the power of AMC’s programming in a group setting. The results were, in the words of advertising media, “eye-popping” and “an imaginative bar-raiser and sure-fire candidate for best event of 2014".
The evening began with guests boarding a series of luxury coaches to transport guests from their midtown offices to the downtown venue. Upon arriving at Pier 36, guests checked in quickly and passed through a sleek reception area and into a cocktail lounge while listening to remarks by AMC’s engaging President, Charlie Collier. As Collier wrapped up his remarks, a giant wall of curtains unexpectedly parted to reveal a stunningly beautiful 100' dining room with banquet tables and over 100 waiters in formal attire lining the aisles.
Guests were awestruck by the screens lining the perimeter of the room and were in for an even bigger surprise as they were seated next to the stars and creators of AMC’s shows. Among the celebrity attendees were Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, John Slattery, Christina Hendricks and January Jones of Mad Men; Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, and Lauren Cohan of The Walking Dead; Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks of the highly-anticipated Better Call Saul.
To bring current and upcoming programs to life, custom-created wide screen trailers of AMC’s shows were shown on the surrounding screens while shock-and-awe theatrical experiences complemented each sequence. While guests enjoyed their amuse bouche, highlights of Mad Men ran on the screen to conclude with a reveal of the entire cast standing in spotlights at their tables. Next up, a series of live and projected legal incidents advertised the law practice and new series of the ever-scheming Saul Goodman of Better Call Saul. During the main course, a panoramic animation sequence turned the clock back on Manhattan from the present day to 1776. As the trailer for AMC’s newest series entitled Turn concluded, guests witnessed a full-scale Revolutionary War battle fought in the aisles by over 50 soldiers in costume amidst smoke effects and cannon and musket fire. A revolutionary war fife and drum corps conclude the battles sequence and provided a nice segue to a lone fiddle player whose music transported guests back to the old West of Hell on Wheels as expansive imagery of trains rolling across the Great Plains spread over the screens. In the final sequence, AMC executives’ closing remarks were cut short by a Walking Dead Zombie attack as over 40 authentic walkers invaded the dinner space and chased guests back into the reception area that had been transformed into an ‘80s-themed after party portraying Halt and Catch Fire - a new series about the birth of the personal computer.
MediaBizBlogger Simon Applebaum wrote that AMC’s Upfront was “An imaginative bar-raiser and sure-fire candidate for best event of 2014.” Another media executive quoted in Broadcasting & Cable was quoted as saying “Other companies will be hard pressed to beat this. They’ve raised the bar.”