No one knew who Revolver was. Then, one day, a lot of people did.
Revolver launched with gusto. Internally, they had agreed that having 250 people show up would be a huge success. Well, over 700 did. We got press from MPR, Star Tribune, VitaMN, City Pages, and more. If we were honest, it was overwhelming. And amazing.
How did we do it? Good question. One strong idea: hipster boxing.
Why “hipster boxing”?
It fit Revolver‘s brand. It fit the zeitgeist of the culture. It also brought in strong allies who wanted to make sure the event well themselves—i.e., the boxers. They certainly didn’t want to be fighting in front of 10 people.
But hipsters boxing couldn’t be the end of the event—we needed to give additional depth to the project. That’s why there were “Polaroid Stories,” banging tunes from DJ Shannon Blowtorch, drinks from Bin On The Park, food trucks, and a beautifully done-up space.
Note: Our Luke Finsaas and Emilie Robinson are part of Revolver.
The Creative Process
I. The Kernel of the Idea
Revolver wanted to make literature big and sexy and a little risky. The party needed to look a little rough, a little swanky. Eclectic but focused. During Art-a-Whirl in Spring 2012, we explored possible spaces and someone suggested the gym around the corner: Uppercut Gym. We checked it out and everything clicked. “Do you think we could get hipsters to box?” we asked.
2. The Development
We partnered with the gym—they’d train our boxers over the summer. Our Emilie Robinson designed the space and we fabricated tables from 2x4s, plywood, and old books, as well as the two infamous “R” banners and painted books white and hung them. We designed “Polaroid Stories”—participants would write a key phrase on their Polaroid to remind them of a story they like to tell in, say, a bar—and tracked down the film and the cameras.
3. The Conclusion
We had over 700 people show up that night and everything went perfect and according to our minute-by-minute plan. The fights were tenacious and full of passion. At midnight, we had to kick people out—the dance floor was heating up.
Even now, two years later, people ask Revolver when they’re going to do another party at Uppercut.
The Lead Up
We used every avenue of marketing we could think of: guerrilla poster hanging, traditional publicity, micro-events, and social media. We crafted (mildly) irreverent press releases and responded to inquisitive reporters. When we say “micro-events,” we mean the “Friends of Revolver” night when we invited 30 of the Twin Cities’ literary tastemakers over to a loft in Lowertown, plying them with drinks and joviality.
We created a number of different pieces of collateral for different marketing channels, both digital and print. Our process began with four different posters, as well as three derivative flyers. From that we were able to hone the design (by consensus) to the single final poster. That was the root of all additional designs, no matter the medium.
What It Looked Like
THE TAKE AWAY
Does this look a project that you’re gearing up for? Let’s talk.