by Guest Editor, Lance VanDyke Salemo :modig!media
Cambridge, MA | September 26, 2012
When is a groundbreaking not a groundbreaking? When it’s a social/multimedia event that features electropop darlings Passion Pit as the headlining act!
EF (Education First , an international study-abroad and language-instruction leader that blends technology with education, knows how to throw a party. Under a crisp, blue New England sky, September 25th marked the official unveiling of EF’s planned $125-million North American headquarters at Cambridge’s North Point Park, in the shadow of the iconic Zakim Bridge.
Sure, there were the usual hallmarks of such ceremonies: shovels and hardhats; speeches by politicians and execs, from Mayor Henrietta Davis to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to EF’s charismatic CEO, Alex Hult; and a cadre of media journalists and photographers there to report the story.
But what set this event apart was the youthful enthusiasm and innovation so typical of EF. The company engaged social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to generate an early buzz for their “Hello World” campaign, and that excitement continued onsite as the day unfolded: a fireboat salute from the Charles River; a crowd brimming with vibrantly colored pink shirts, jackets and balloons; multiple buffet tables of food, beer and wine; a throng of Boston-area food trucks; green-screen photo tents inserting subjects into exotic locales around the globe; branding and impact videos on the stage-flanking Jumbotrons; a constant online presence teeming with chatter and images direct from the event; and reporters covering the ceremony on the run using social media tools to file live accounts.
And then there was the band.
Passion Pit, a local act with a global following, performed a stripped-back, 6-song mini-set to cap off the afternoon. The crowd rushed the stage to hear selections from all of the band’s releases, including recent full-length Gossamer. They reworked some of their more well-known numbers, like “Take A Walk” and “Sleepyhead,” for this “acoustic” performance, but their up-beat drive remained intact and the crowd responded enthusiastically.
Passion Pit, and frontman Michael Angelakos, are known for mixing lyrical depth with a high-energy take on current synthpop trends, making them the perfect choice for EF’s forward-thinking initiatives.
The band, and the event as a whole, mirrored the company’s push to attract young innovators and tech-savvy types for the 400 jobs they’ll be creating once construction of the new headquarters is complete. As Governor Patrick told the assembled EF employees and guests: “Education and innovation is inherent in what you do.” And that was plainly in evidence yesterday.
Not your standard groundbreaking, to be sure, but a buzz-worthy and truly unique experience for those in attendance. Follow the progress of EF’s expansion. Join the passion.
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