A Theme of Discovery "I consider three things to determine themes for the incentive conferences for my brokers: location, the requirement to earn the incentive, and the ease of carrying the theme through all aspects of the planning," says Marie Dremann, first vice president, Planning Corporation of America, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

For her 2000 meeting, Dremann's promotion went out to 943 financial advisors affiliated with broker/dealer Raymond James & Associates Inc. Having "found" the lost city of Atlantis alive and well in the Bahamas, Dremann used the city's mythology to create the theme "Discover Atlantis-Getaway 2000." (The word "Getaway" is incorporated in the theme each year.)

Much of the conference promotion was done online: The conference home page had animated sharks swimming through water, and each week carried an animated teaser to entice the brokers to work harder to earn the trip. "For example, when we promoted the casino, there were spinning slot machines and when we promoted the golf, we showed a golfer actually swinging a club at the tee," Dremann explains.

For printed materials, Dremann's team came up with a basic design using photos and original artwork, and from there created the kickoff posters, letterhead, program, name tags, T-shirts, and other items.

The T-shirts were particularly appreciated by the mutual fund and annuity companies who sponsored the trip. "We found a unique way to bring these companies to the attention of the attendees, to thank them for their financial support and participation," Dremann says. "On the backs of the T-shirts, we included an illustration with the question: Can you find all 22? If you look carefully, you'll find the logos of our 22 sponsoring companies. We gave a prize to the first person who identified all the logos. The sponsors loved it!"

The final touch was a CD-ROM sent to attendees after the conference, which included photos from the event in a PowerPoint presentation set to music.

Company: Planning Corporation of America (on behalf of 22 sponsoring companies) Event: Getaway 2000 Site: Atlantis-Paradise Island Resort, Nassau, Bahamas Dates: May 17 to 21, 2000 Qualification Period: October 1, 1999 to January 31, 2000 Qualifying Attendees: 50 Sponsor Representatives: 44 Total Attendees (including home office and spouses): 220 The Creative Team: Marie Dremann, Conference Planner; Earl Smith, Graphic Artist; and Vanessa Marcos, Administrator