1100 hours, Edinburgh. One gigantic bottle of After Shock, a pair of large, furry dice, two video cameras, copious amounts of the alcohol and a mountain of promo posters. It means only one thing – a day out with the field marketing team at Draftworldwide.
1200 hours, Glasgow. The ground team of four, headed up by Andy Lear, has arrived at The Garage nightclub 11 hours ahead of the promotion. All the gear is lugged into the main dance hall at the venue as the assembled Garage staff look on in amusement.
1300 hours and the stage is set. Well, almost. A 12-foot-high After Shock bottle has been erected (minus the bottle top), a pole running vertically through its centre for what will ultimately be the evening’s main attraction – amateur pole dancing.
1400 hours. A problem is encountered. The promotion has to be filmed for the client (accountability, and all that). However, there is no obvious position for the camera to be mounted. Solutions involving lighting rigs, drilling holes and ceiling mounts are suggested. However, the simplest solutions are always the best as one member of the bar staff suggests making the stage bigger, moving the “bottle” forward and mounting the camera on a table behind the stage. Simple.
1500 hours. As the bottle receives a quick “refill” (repaint) and the pole is greased up, the promotional flyers are strategically blu-tacked on the walls. The venue’s managers have been feverishly flyering to drum up a “full-participation audience” for the night’s promotion so there is no need for the Draft crew to hit the streets.
15:30, and after a great deal of huffing and panting, the heavy bottle top is finally hoisted up and manoeuvred between the lighting, to crown the bottle. The lights are wired up and the camera tested – an image will constantly be projected on a screen at the other end of the dance floor – and with a final spin on the pole the team clean up and jump in the car again.
2300 hours. The crew are back at The Garage, this time with reinforcements – Emma the dancer, complete with After-Shock-branded outfit (pants and a wee top) and Eddie McCabe, Perrier Award winner at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, as compere.
Having already travelled from Edinburgh to Glasgow, Glasgow to Dunfermline (to check out another venue), Dunfermline to Edinburgh (to get some work done at the office) and now Edinburgh to Glasgow, the team arrive half an hour before the venue opens its doors to the masses, to recheck the equipment and branding.
The Garage has a specially dedicated After Shock bar, which reinforces the branding further still.
2330. The dance floor is full as Emma takes to the stage. Hundreds of heads turn in unison and grown men clamber to the highest vantage point available to get a glimpse of the lovely Emma as she dances, rather provocatively, in the giant bottle.
2345. McCabe takes to the stage to inform the eager public that it is not only Emma who can dance in the After Shock bottle, but in order to get a T-shirt and free After Shock anyone who lacks self-consciousness and fancies themselves as a pole-dancer can take the stage: “Don’t be shy, your parents weren’t.” Roll the dice, score a double and get on the stage ...
2400. The Garage management has guaranteed at least an audience of 700. Their modesty is apparent as well over 1,000 punters litter the dance floor and bars, while Kevin, from Coatbridge, makes the stage his own (and his T-shirt the crowd’s) for the length of Tom Jones’ “Sex Bomb” in order to pick up his free After Shock and branded T-shirt.
0100 hours and there is a queue to dance on stage. The crowds are lapping up the promotion enthusiastically, and, as the manager of the Garage looks on, heads nod in agreement as he shouts over the music: “They’re students, they’ll do anything for free alcohol.”
0130. With such a plethora of alcoholic shots on the market it is important for After Shock – one of the originals – to keep at the forefront of the target market’s mind. It is events like this that enforce its youth appeal and get straight to the intended market.
And it seems to be working. Pretty girls are pleading for the After-Shock-branded T-shirts and everywhere you look pints are being followed by an After Shock “chaser”.
0200. The finals.
Of all the (many) dancers who have strutted their stuff, a handful are invited back for the “dance-off” finals. Two girls, who turn out to do a sneaky sideline in cheerleading for the Scottish Claymores, win the amateur pole-dancing title for the night.
0215. The Draft crew begin to disassemble their rig and cart it out to the waiting van.
0300. Back in the van, heading out of Glasgow towards Edinburgh.
0400. 17 hours since their day began, the team drop off the equipment back at the office and finally go home for some well-deserved sleep. I do the same. Thank God.