Feature photo by Courtney Cantor at Hamilton Exhibits

The global event marketing agency Hamilton has been recognized with an EDDIE award for an exceptionally smart move in February. The company transitioned from immersive brand events to vaccination events. Their national meeting development and brand communication expertise, along with a substantial existing vendor network, allowed the team to smoothly shift to helping Indiana vaccinate its community.

Transitioning the Mission

A nurse performing a Covid test through a car window
Event on Ivy Tech Community College campus in Sellersburg; Photo credit: Courtney Cantor

Nearly all of Hamilton’s scheduled industry bookings were called off in 2020. But, as the agency was already an award-winning event brand known for its immersive experiences for big client companies, the transition to mass vaccination efforts came quite naturally.

The company took a proactive approach to changing business plans amid the pandemic and the medical staff and space shortages it has created. Its first pivot in 2020 equipped schools and businesses with CDC-approved resources and structures so they could remain open safety. By February 2021, the agency was ready to take supporting their community through events to the next level. It planned vaccination activations that resulted in 200,000 people receiving “the jab” in the state.

“Hamilton has stepped up several times this year in critical ways to help the Indiana Department of Health,” said Kristina Box, MD, Indiana commissioner of health, and noted that its valuable expertise worked seamlessly with the state department staff in planning and executing vaccine operations.

Hamilton organized mass vaccination efforts for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) and the U.S. Department of Defense to bring vaccination events to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, University of Notre Dame, Gary (a FEMA site), the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Sellersburg and additional locations and mobile sites.

Sometimes a storm blew in and Hamilton’s heating facilities were put to the test; other times, the best space was a building in desperate need of renovations, or supplies would begin to dwindle due to supply chain hang-ups. Through it all, Hamilton’s team worked closely with its extensive network, preparing and transitioning spaces as the agency transitioned its mission.

A Humbling Award to Affirm Noble Efforts

A drive-through Covid testing site at University of Notre Dame
Event at University of Notre Dame; Photo credit: Courtney Cantor

Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA) chose Hamilton to receive the 2021 EDDIE award for the Best Industry Pivot, formally presented on Dec. 1 at EDPA’s ACCESS Conference.

“Being named for this award was most unusual and humbling, as Hamilton was privileged to be selected to support a high-intensity statewide effort that helped save thousands of lives and helped keep people out of emergency rooms and hospitals,” said CEO Jason Weddle, reflecting on the impact of his agency’s event services transition.

Now, Hamilton is back to offering its traditional services as the event industry returns, but it still also offers vaccine event support and safety products. The agency has also added a new line of specialty government and non-profit event services.

Hamilton not only found a way to bring in revenue during a state of uncertainty for in-person event companies but did so in a way that benefited the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in its community—ultimately expanding its services in the process.