Winners were announced during an elegant luncheon reception. Programs were evaluated for return on investment, creativity, logistics, and their ability to overcome unexpected challenges.
Those challenges were significant ones and included a program to increase results for Drive, a classified section in Melbourne, Australia’s The Age newspaper. The program was expected to achieve the same results as the previous year's trip to the Italian Grand Prix (with a budget of $2.7 million U.S.), but with a budget that had been slashed by 85 percent. Qualifiers were primarily owners and managers of automobile dealerships. For that accomplishment, incentive house 212F of Melbourne won a Crystal in the category of "Most Creative Use of an Incentive Program to Solve aProblem–External Marketing Campaign."
Another winner with an extraordinary challenge was Incentive Travel, LLC, San Diego, Calif., whose client, Viacom Television, had chosen Russia as its incentive destination, but changed its plan because of the war in Iraq. Incentive Travel developed an alternative using Palm Springs, Calif., and a 24-hour trip to Las Vegas.
Many of the winning programs showed proof that luxury is returning to incentive trips, and included first-class features reminiscent of the early '90s. For example, a WBNS-TV program for top advertisers planned by Travel Dynamics Group, La Jolla, Calif., included a flight from Columbus, Ohio, to Vancouver, B.C. on a private jet, a sunset cruise on a luxury yacht, a private lunch at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and a floatplane transfer to Whistler, B.C.
Congratulations to all the 2004 Crystal Award Winners: