Pez Easter Egg Hunt Provides Lesson In Bad Event Organization. Yes PEZ, it was your fault.
In a public relations disaster that reminded me of the WKRP-AM Thanksgiving Day Turkey Drop, the third and what is likely the last ever Easter Egg Hunt at the Pez Museum in Orange, CN. deteriorated quickly into a shoving match between parents who feared their children would not get any free candy. The only way most people would consider eating the fruity/sweet candy tablets is if they were free. The dispensers have a nice following by collectors, but they do not approach any other collectible like LEGO, or even bottle caps.
But if you want a lesson in how to not organize a special event, the Pez people have provided a world class example. Here is how to really screw up your next event.
- Understaff your event. Instead of extra security or even temporary employees to help keep order, make sure mom and dad are behind the ropes, etc. just trust God and luck that everyone present at a free event will be kind, generous and polite.
- The Remedy: Have a lot of staff and event security on hand and make sure they are very visible. There are lots of companies that provide services like these for stadiums, ball games, concerts and yes, sigh, egg hunts. Brief them in advance about their roles, locations and responsibility. Make sure they can communicate via walkie-talkie with you, the PEZ organizer. And while you are at it, hire some extra uniformed police officers as off duty security. They can use the money and you are likely to have a better event.
- Do not issue tickets or wristbands. When you invite everyone, everyone will show up. Add the word ‘free’ to anything and the demographics of the crowd just got really bad. Life’s overachievers are not attending anything with the ‘free’ label. I learned in college that when hosting a beer party at the frat house during rush to charge at least $.25 cents for beer. Party goers will run out of quarters eventually and the hobos will seek refreshment elsewhere.
- The Remedy: Charge something even if it is just a dollar donation to a charity. When you say it is free is has that value stamped on it which is nothing and will be treated that way. Charging a donation will help to weed out the riffraff. When people give their dollar, the child gets a color coded wrist band based on his or her age and is directed to the field where they belong.
- No ingress or egress that is clearly marked. The fields were wide open and the eggs were clearly in view and remember they are free, right? So given that they have no value, why obey any rules? Don’t ask, just take.
- Have a gate or turnstile that allows people entrance to the hunt area one or two at a time. Since you already hired extra security people they are watching the entrance to make sure that there are no jumpers or freeloaders present.
- No learning from the past or other similar events. No need to study up on what could potentially or has gone wrong for organizers at other, similar events. Every day is a brand new day!
- Remedy, do your homework. It does not take a genius to search Google for information on events like this and learn the do and do not do’s of special events. This article for example will show up in the do not do list next year.