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Designing for advocacy

No other American city has as many lobbyists as Washington, D.C., and with 100,000 members, few organizations have as much political influence as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Their annual Policy Conference has drawn more than 7,000 attendees from across the U.S. to hear from leaders including the president, vice president and congressional representatives, as well as top officials from the Israeli government. The theme of a recent Policy Conference—RELATIONSHIPS MATTER—emphasized how the affinity of individuals is critical to the bond between our two great democracies. AIPAC turned to BSD to deliver a seamless, branded experience and create a strong emotional connection to their mission through environmental graphics, directional signage, electronic media, staging and traditional print media.

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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Event branding applied to information booth for conference held annually at the Washington Convention Center; in conjunction with event production company.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Annual meeting event branding installed in the Grand Lobby of the Washington Convention Center.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Event branding designed to evoke an emotional response for meeting held annually at the Washington Convention Center.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Event branding applied to exterior signage for meeting held annually at the Washington Convention Center.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Hardscape stage design for the Policy Conference incorporating the theme "Relationships Matter," depicting the ties between American and Israeli leaders over the decades. In conjunction with event production company.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Hardscape stage design for the Policy Conference incorporating the theme "Relationships Matter," depicting the ties between American and Israeli leaders over the decades. In conjunction with event production company.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Israeli President Shimon Peres is featured in this close-up on a stage designed for the AIPAC Policy Conference at the Washington Convention Center incorporating the theme "Relationships Matter." In conjunction with event production company.
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American Israel Public Affairs Committee — Vice President Joe Biden shown on stage incorporating the theme "Relationships Matter." (Photography from client archives.) In conjunction with event production company.
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The BSD solution

To satisfy the conference’s dual purpose—educating attendees and inspiring their support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, we designed the initial visual treatments by combining historic photography with bold use of typography. The theme permeated all of the design elements ranging from large hanging banners and a 90-foot-wide stage set to the smallest details of printed programs and nametags. The photography throughout the branded materials shows a balanced mix of American and Israeli political figures from across the ideological spectrum—each underscoring the importance of one-on-one relationships in advocating for their cause.

Banner designs took into consideration that in such a massive physical space, attendees can easily get disoriented. Directional information was included in the signage plan so people knew where to check in, where to get a bite to eat and how to find the bus back to their hotel at the end of a long day.

Our multi-disciplinary staff was well versed in the complex technical aspects of designing signage and speaker stages in large-scale environments such as the Washington Convention Center, and worked in close collaboration with special event services firm Hargrove for signage and experiential communications firm Viva Creative on the stage.

One unique electronic feature was the creation of multimedia "billboards." As the conference progressed, photographs from each day were interspersed with a revolving multimedia slideshow of more well-known figures. The purpose was to demonstrate that it's not just relationships between leaders that matter, but also the relationships attendees make with their congressional representatives. Ordinary people were up on the big screens with Henry [Kissinger] and Golda [Meir]!

Post-conference marketing

A memorable experience is only one part of the puzzle. Branded visual assets for post-conference marketing are equally as important. We took care to ensure that the client's name appeared in all images and video taken at the event. We considered the photographic assets from all angles so that when speakers such as Israeli President Shimon Peres and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addressed the conference, there was beautiful, branded imagery in the still and video images taken by the news media and broadcast worldwide.

On the stage, the overall design was a study in balance where the small space and the huge space are equally important. For the media, the small number of square feet surrounding the speakers was balanced with the scale of each image and the typography relative to the whole stage for the people in the room. The giant stage carried the theme to an exhilarating level combining historical images and the U.S and Israeli flags. The client’s name in a step-and-repeat pattern reinforced AIPAC’s brand for the news and media broadcasts around the world.

Results

There were more than 300 credentialed news media at the conference. It was covered by all network and cable news outlets in the U.S. and carried on countless local news programs and stations across the country, and on literally dozens of European, Arab and Asian TV networks.

Of the 7,000 attendees, more than 6,000 lobbied their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill directly following the conference, and more than 3,600 people registered for next year’s conference prior to the culmination of the three-day event.