Celebrating 40 Years in Business

Whew! We can’t believe we’re here. How many businesses can say they’ve been around 40 years? It’s been a very long, productive, and incredibly rewarding road working in the world of experiential… starting long before the word “experiential” was even a known term to describe our industry!

And while some still confuse our business with words like “experimental” marketing and call us “Event Management Services”, we’re just extremely proud to be here today, doing what we love: event and experiential marketing.

In over 40 years of business, EMS has been a key player from the beginning and throughout the evolution of the event and experiential industry. Over that time, we’ve grown from a one-man show to building a team of event and experiential experts with over 50 Brand Ambassadors who serve as the front line in the field for our clients.

Throughout our history we’ve gone from TV production and creating the first known sponsorships in telethons to taking on some of the coolest clients and brands and successfully showcased them in a unique and meaningful way— face-to-face—our favorite form of marketing. From fairs to festivals, to sending crazy guerrilla street teams all over the nation, we’ve done it all and have had a lot of fun doing it!

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Thanks to our supporters, clients, employees, and brand ambassadors, past and present, who have been our biggest fans through this wild ride. From the ups and the downs, it’s because of you that we’ve sustained and prevailed, not only for the last 40 years, but even in the midst of a global pandemic to reach our 40th year.

EMS By the Numbers

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How We Did It

Beyond staying ahead of the curve in the experiential and event marketing industry and providing great services from sampling to education and outreach campaigns, we owe our success to hitting our 40-year milestone to the core values we’ve stayed committed to year after year. It’s how we’ve made decisions and navigated projects and partnerships to provide the best possible customer experiences for our clients. Here’s how we stuck around for so long.

Responsibility

Do what you say, say what you do. Pretty straightforward? Well, it is for us! We take ownership of our work and take responsibility for ourselves and our clients. It is our job to make your job easier, and at the end of the day – you know you can count on us.

Versatility

We present a menu of options, for our sponsors, for our clients, and for our event attendees. We believe there is power in variety and being able to pivot on a dime.

Intuitive

We’re always one step ahead, always thinking of the next thing – planning and navigating for the unexpected. We’re solution providers who integrate technology to maximize efficiencies and communicate frequently to ensure effectiveness.

Figure It Out

A phrase spoken at least 10 times a day at EMS. We are in the business of figuring it out – from quick-turn projects to refined budgets, from staffing to challenging display setups – we figure it out.

Detail Oriented

We think of everything. We are detailed and meticulous in our approach to every single facet of projects for our clients. As we like to say, “every detail…down to the napkins.”

Then & Now

EMS wouldn’t be where we are today if we didn’t give credit to our company and founder who’s been there from day one, Jeff Milgrom. While the milestone is certainly a huge kudos to his business acumen, great service offering and ability to hire exceptional talent, for him it’s also a very sentimental one. Looking back on the 40-year history of the company brings a lot of pride and incredible memories.

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Case Studies by the Decade

A quick glance at the types of work the company executed each decade showcases how we’ve evolved throughout the industry. Below we’ve highlighted a notable project from each decade.

1980’s

DOLE & KENNY ROGERS’ TOUR

Following the successful 1981 Rolling Stones American Tour presented by Jovan Fragrances, Jovan created a product-centered sponsorship through the Kenny Rogers Tour: Lady and Gambler in direct association with the tour. With the aim to sell Jovan to stores who would then sell to consumers in store, we developed sponsorship opportunities through every avenue possible even fragrance samples were included in show tickets to Drug stores. As part of our role, we also brought key accounts and department store representatives backstage for the chance to meet and take a photo with Kenny. We setup the banner logo as the backdrop for photos, then snapped the photos. Email was not yet around, so the photos taken were developed off-stie and sent back to Jovan to get then mail the photo to their buyer. LOL.

1990’s

BORDEN SNACK FOODS SAMPLING TOUR

In the summer of 1993, the agency got a taste for sampling programs when it launched a test marketing campaign for Borden Snack Foods. From Memorial to Labor Day, we hired Brand Ambassadors out of Ann Arbor, rented a vehicle for the summer and hit uber cool festivals like the Tulip and Cherry festival throughout Michigan during a 30-event sampling tour. Ironically, at the same time Borden had already sold off its snack foods as they consolidated their 10 brands into ‘snacks’ negating the brand awareness efforts of the program. Experiential marketing is a funny world!

2000’s

OSU BUCKEYE SPORTS TOUR

What started as an auction event to bring more sports to Columbus, ended with our company president bidding on… and winning an insane prize package: A first-class ticket to an OSU game complete with a flight on the same plane carrying the OSU football team AND a seat on the bench with the team during the game!

The event led to a meeting with key associates of The Ohio State University Department of Athletics who was looking to showcase all 36 of the university’s sports and the scholarships they offered beyond the most popular ones.

The partnership that ensued resulted in the “Buckeye Championship Sports Tour.” The experience included inflatable sports games including a replica of the famous “horseshoe”, a photo station, prizes, and Brand Ambassadors distributing sports schedules and more.

For more than five years, the inflatables appeared at events all over central Ohio, including the Ohio State Fair and Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival. Utilizing the company’s background in sponsorship, Sponsors such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kroger, Nationwide, Bob Evans, and Thrifty, among others, supported the program.

2010’s

PIADA EVENT & SAMPLING PROGRAM

Perhaps one of the most fun and craziest project highlights in our 40 years was a campaign executed in partnership with PIADA, the delicious fast-casual Italian restaurant based in Columbus.

 

In 2016 we devised a campaign that included not only a branded tent for sampling and giant PLINKO board to distribute prizes, but we had this wild idea to get our Brand Ambassadors on Vespa scooters – yup, just like the scooter you see in their logo – and have them handout coupons and premium items outside of events occurring all over their territory Ohio and Michigan, at the time.

 

While the idea was on-brand, logistically, getting the team on scooters was a tall order as we quickly discovered. To pull it off, legally driving scooters required a motorcycle endorsement on your license. We knew an idea this cool was going to be a challenge, but in the end it was worth it. We hired Brand Ambassadors willing to go through training to obtain a motorcycle license.

 

With the team equipped to safely drive the scooters, they hit the roads outside of concerts and college campuses, participated in parades, gave away koozies and coupons to PIADA fans everywhere. In the end, the campaign was super successful for distribution and awareness and ultimately driving consumers to restaurants to redeem their coupons.

40 Moments that Made EMS

So, to celebrate, we’ve summed up four decades, of our most memorable stories, services, projects, initiatives, and more, into the top 40 moments that have made us who we are today.

40 Moments that Made Us

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