Innovative meeting & event planners

Florida Governor’s Bill Signing Event

The Task

A request came from an advertising agency to put together an event surrounding Florida Governor Lawton Chiles signing a bill regarding Florida Tourism. We had a very short window of time to put together an event that would create excitement about tourism, bring recognition as a milestone to the Tourism Bill that was being signed, make it newsworthy, and be filled with photo opportunities for the press.

The Challenge

How do you make a bill signing a “photo opportunity” and an “exciting and newsworthy event”? In addition, the bill signing was going to take place in the historic State of Florida Old Capitol Building in Tallahassee. Because the building is on the Historic Registry, it has many, many restrictions on what you can and can’t do in it.

The Solution

After the visiting the room at the Old Capitol Building where the actual bill signing would take place, we realized we needed to bring in something to “create a visual,” as well as generate excitement. First, we decided we needed a backdrop behind the Governor. We found a poster of a beach scene and asked Burdines, a Florida department store, to support our effort by loaning us two of their signature palm trees. We sprayed them gold and set them as a framework for the poster. Next, we invited each of Florida Tourist attraction’s talent to come to Tallahassee and represent their attraction to create excitement at the bill signing by entertaining the press, the legislators, and all involved in this event. The Capitol Press Corp, State Dignitaries, the Governor’s staff and other important members of the press were led from the State Capitol Building to the Old State Capitol Building by a parade of talent from all of the attractions in Florida. Members of the Mystic Sheiks of Morocco Jazz Band from Busch Gardens, Laurel and Hardy look-a-likes from Universal Studios, the Barber Shop Quartet from Disney, and Seaworld’s Shamu and Miami Seaquarium’s Whale amongst others, danced and played and led the way into the Old Capitol Building. While waiting for the Governor to arrive, the Laurel and Hardy look-a-likes and others entertained the audience. As the Governor signed the actual bill into law, a green and red macaw from Parrott Jungle waddled across the desk. This fabulous photo opportunity did not go unnoticed and the photos of Governor Chiles signing the bill with the parrot was picked up by almost every paper in the State of Florida along with a great article that noted “The Governor’s staff and the Capitol Press Corps said it was the best bill signing event they could ever remember!” Mission Accomplished!