Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 2013-01-07 23:12:09
Mad About ‘Mad Men’? Attract a Younger Crowd with a Trendy Event It has been said that what’s old becomes new again. That sentiment could not be more true when it comes to the renewed popularity of retro 1960s style, thanks to the hit show “Mad Men.” With painstaking attention to detail in everything from fashion to furniture, “Mad Men” has made kitten heels, martinis, beehives and skinny ties cool again—largely with people who may have not even been born when those styles were in fashion the first time. Noticing this trend, Seattle Ballard District Lion Maggie Mallett in Washington came up with the idea for the Lions to have a “Mad Men” themed party to attract younger members. Although the Lions had never held an event like this before, they gladly went with it, knowing they needed to try something new if the club were to thrive. Many Lions clubs have their tried-and-true signature events—pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, 4th of July barbecues—that recur like clockwork each year. These events raise funds, community members count on them and the Lions carry them out like well-oiled machines. But when it comes to gaining the notice of new audiences, including potential new members, some Lions clubs are having success stepping outside of their comfort zones and trying something completely different. “I just wanted a theme that a younger demographic could relate to, as we need fresh ideas and members who can physically help our membership with club activities,” Mallett says. Facing an aging club, Mallett stresses that the goal for the event was to “get the word out about the Lions to a group of energetic people.” The Ballard Lions got to work on their Mad Men party, reaching their audience by promoting the event on Facebook and keeping costs down by finding a free venue and preparing the appetizers themselves. The response to the event was strong, with many hip young people excited to sip classic cocktails while decked out in fedoras and vintage cocktail dresses. The Lions mingled and chatted with attendees about what Lions do, although only a couple of Lions were in attendance so as not to bombard attendees with a hard sell, Mallett explains. The strategy worked: “We have had three members join, and two to three more that want to help on a part-time basis,” says Mallett. By keeping an eye on pop culture, searching the Web for the latest trends or even simply asking young people what they’re interested in, your club can brainstorm an event that you’re comfortable with and that will catch the attention of people in your community who may not have noticed you before. And who knows, the Lions just may get a kick out of dressing like Mad Men themselves—or whatever the next big thing might be.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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