The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project was one of the biggest undertakings the brand had ever attempted. Fourteen cities around the world were involved in this campaign. Each would swap night life elements from their countries with one other nation. South Africa was selected to swap with Germany and the hosts cities, Cape Town and Berlin were off the hook. I traveled to the German capital to catch all the action- from a braai, to an informal hair salon, a banging musical performance by Gazelle, the Germans were in for a treat. Have a look at the video above.
Smirnoff gave one lucky South African the opportunity of a life time. To win an all expenses paid trip to Berlin for the Nightlife Exchange Project. Paul Machelle was the lucky person who won the competition and he took his awesome gf Sindi Mathebula along. This marked their first trip abroad and this is what they had to say:
“Bags packed. We printed the itinerary one last time. Hit the Gautrain from Sandton to the airport. Arrived at OR Tambo, anxiously waited for Brandhouse Brand Manager, Lizzy Kronk to meet us for the very first time! Bit worried she might not be as hip, and maybe uptight. Only quite contrary to discover. Checked in and boarded the Lufthansa Airbus (German airline) to Frankfurt. Goodness what a massive beast. World-class airline with extraordinary service. Food on the plane was fantastic, great entertainment on board with touch screen monitors (movies, music, documentaries and TV).
Eventually landed in Frankfurt after an eleven hour flight. Routine security checkin and then we boarded to Berlin. We landed in Berlin at about 08:30 am (local time). Smirnoff shuttle picked us up from the airport to the Grand Hyatt hotel (freezing as hell…!!!) What an extraordinary hotel- Grand Hyatt Berlin- impeccable service, totally professional and extremely professional and hospitable.
EXPLORING THE CITY
Freshened up to hit that club scene. We went to Felix VIP- hottest club in Berlin. Clocked in our cloaks, got loose and hit the dancefloor… International DJing at it’s best! The next day we took a tour to Berlin with a Trabi (1960 model car). Continue reading “Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project- winners share their thoughts”
Wow. Can I leave it there? Okay, I’ll elaborate slightly then. Last night one of the most ambitious campaigns I’ve seen in a long time, all came together as planned- and barring minor issues, it all went off without a hitch. The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project happened, it was real and it was a huge success. Well from what I saw in Berlin, Germany and Cape Town, South Africa (via Skype). The build up to the event might have seemed long and somewhat drawn out at times, but it really was worth the wait.
I was at the Berlin leg of the nightlife exchange and I was interested to see what elements were submitted in the Smirnoff crate by our curators, Fresh and Euphonik and how in turn the Germans had translated and executed those into something unique and memorable for the invited guests (unique but also somewhat relatable to their own nightlife). On arrival at the venue called Munze, guests were given the opportunity to ‘fess up’ in the nightlife confessions box. In this little booth, couples were asked to share all their dirty little secrets about their nights out on the town, who they’d meet, how they’d meet, what the clubs in their respective cities were like and how they differed to other places they’ve visited too. Nice idea and what’s also really cool about this is that partygoers were given a link to the video to share with their friends – and they were given a complimentary cab voucher to use after the party. Promoting responsible drinking and no driving deserves huge thumbs up. Oh and speaking about responsible drinking, the venue was scattered with buckets filled with water bottles, for those who wanted to keep hydrated throughout the night.
To the left of the Confessions Box was an informal hair studio, where revelers could go and get their hair did before going into rest of the warehouse. The floor plan was actually very clever. Get your confessions done, follow that up with a funky new hairdo, check your coat in and then head to the dance floor. Upon entry into the dance floor area, to the left was a giant screen projecting the nightlife exchange via Skype with Cape Town. Btw, Cape Town, you looked good… representing SA in true stylish fashion, good music and it looked as though it was cooking at the Bellville Velodrome. Hope the German influence treated you all well. Right back to Berlin, the Smirnoff crate was situated on the stage behind the DJ. I must admit I had a blonde moment. I asked Lizzie from Smirnoff where the crate was and after her pointing out a box on the stage, I thought to myself but that’s tiny. Turns out I was being well dumb and when I saw the size of the crate, I couldn’t help but shake my head in shame. Ha.
The first of three bars gave consumers an opportunity to try some of the South African inspired cocktails on offer; Rock Kwaito Granadilla, Afro Preppy Pineapple and of course the Smirnoff Cape Town Mule (there were others too). You’ll see the ingredients for this one on the left. Limettenstucke are limes and the Physalis is a gooseberry FYI. My German is getting better (coughs).
Continue reading “Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project- Berlin”
Months of preparation have gone into it. Ideas have been creative and now it’s time to share those ideas with the rest of the world. The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project is here. Gazelle will be representing SA in Berlin and I’ll be there to catch all the action. To those who will be lucky enough to experience this, a world-first, enjoy it. Feel free to share the experience and exchange with the rest of us! Would love to hear what is crackening in your city tonight.
On Twitter, the #tag is #SmirnoffNEP. Get involved!
Each room in the Hyatt is fitted with a blackout curtain, which in my opinion is one of the greatest inventions. It serves it’s purpose, but damn when my phone rang this morning I thought I still had at least four hours to go until I was supposed to wake up. Nope it was just after eight, so I dragged myself out of bed and headed down to meet the others for breakfast. Lizzie is a champ. She’s organized with the hostess at Vox (breakfast restaurant at the hotel) a cake for Paul’s birthday. I’ll get that picture shortly and I will post a pic. What a nice idea and at this point I must say the Germans are some of the friendliest people I’ve met in a long time. They’re willing to help out where they can, they offer good advise and they’re interested to know more about our country. I love this.
After breakfast we collected our warm clothes and headed down to the reception area. Our Trabant cars were waiting for us in the front. Initially when I saw we were going on a tour in these cars, I thought it would be similar to a tour bus. You know, where we all squeeze into one car and the tour guide says “If you look to the right, you’ll see…” we all subsequently look and take pictures and the locals stand on the side of the street thinking, bloody foreigners. I’ve never done either, it’s just what I’ve heard happens. Ha.
After a chilled afternoon, we got a sneak peek into what Berlin’s nightlife is like. I must admit being a Thursday night and it being cold, I didn’t expect it to be as busy as it was. Before dinner we went for a stroll around the centre of Berlin. There was yet another Christmas market set up in the Gendarmenmarkt square. This one was much bigger than the Potsdamer Platz Our dinner reservation was for a place called Vau, which is a Michelin star restaurant. It’s not to see why that is, the service was top class, as to be expected and the food was delicious. I landed up going for Pork cheek, served with a parsnip puree, salad covered in crackling and mushroom tortelli. Yum!
None of us really felt like dessert, but the waiter brought us a tray anyway. On it was a chocolate ball filled with marzipan, nougat, a biscuit that tasted like it had fudge in it and this rich cholesterol hazard on the left. I couldn’t try that. The thought made me want to be ill, but Lizzie said it was great.
Continue reading “Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project: Day 1 cont.”
Woohoo, I’m here! It’s a little cold I won’t lie, but having said that it isn’t unbearable and the city of Berlin has treated me well so far. Before I elaborate on what we’ve been up to since arriving in the city, I must just backtrack slightly. First of all I must say I’m so impressed with how functional and world class our public transport system is becoming. I caught a cab to the Gautrain station in Sandton and within half an hour I was at the airport, ready to kill some time as I waited for my flight to Frankfurt. I met up with my fellow travelers ahead of our flight Paul was the lucky one chosen as the South African winner to attend the Berlin leg of the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project. Accompanying him on the trip is his girlfriend Sindi. Lizzie, who is the Brand Manager for Smirnoff Triple Distilled & Black is also traveling with us. We boarded our Lufthansa flight at around 7pm. Having spoken to several of my friends before departure, it became clear that Lufthansa wasn’t the preferred airline to use, but I was pleasantly surprised. The service was fantastic, the plane was clean and it’s one of their new additions to their existing fleet. Their choice of in-flight entertainment was really good. Over 100 cds; a variety of hit TV series like Modern Family, Two and Half Men and 30 Rock to mention a few. The choice of movies was great too: Inception, Grown Ups, and Killers. There were loads more, but if it weren’t for me being so tired, I probably would’ve watched more. Now of course I would notice this, being an avid follower of entertainment, but also on the flight was actress and acclaimed dancer choreographer, Lorcia Cooper. I didn’t get a chance to speak to her, but I would presume she’s got a little project lined up in Berlin. If that is the case, then big up to her. Another South African success story.
We arrived in a cloudy and cold Frankfurt in the wee hours, cleared customs and boarded our next flight to Berlin. It’s kind of like flying to Durban, short and sweet. Continue reading “Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project: Day 1”