Chicago, IL: NEXT/NOW took home the gold Tower Award for best in class Marketing Activation in the 32nd annual Business Marketing Association Tower Award ceremony on Feb 2, 2016. Out of hundreds of submissions, NEXT/NOW’s activation of the iconic Morton Salt Girl’s 100th birthday party in September of 2015 took home the cake. The project adds another award to NEXT/NOW’s growing collection.

“We love what we do, but being recognized in the industry is always an honor,” says Founder and CCO of NEXT/NOW Alan Hughes, “The entire team worked very hard on bringing this idea to life.”

NEXT/NOW captured the attention of the BMA and Chicago alike with the event held on Michigan Avenue’s Pioneer Court. An outdoor lounge was created complete with a DJ, swag giveaways, caterers and art and culinary demos. The activation was capped of with a 10-foot high, 4-foot in diameter LED canister and 10-hours of digital content to fill it. The content though, has its own special story. Three loops were created to celebrate the Girl’s birthday. First, NEXT/NOW designed scenes of Chicago with the 100-year logo flying proudly over Morton Salt’s home city. Then, NEXT/NOW used Morton Salt’s vintage ads in a montage that lasted hours. Finally, and most impressively, redesigned Morton Salt canisters rolled along the larger-than-life canister. The canister designs were submitted by artists into a contest website built by NEXT/NOW. The winning designs were celebrated in LED and ultimately, the winner was sent on a trip for two to Art Basel in Miami.

“We really wanted to get the art community involved and the canister design competition was a perfect vehicle for that,” says Denise Lauer, Director of Communications and Corporate Brand Strategy for Morton Salt. She continues, “Additionally, as you can imagine, we wanted the culinary community involved and were happy to donate to both causes.” To that extent, Morton Salt donated a total of $100,000 in scholarships between Kendall College’s School of Culinary Arts and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lauer adds, “Not only were we able to give back to the communities that support us, but we were able to connect with young people and cultivate the familial nostalgia that is so deeply rooted in our brand.”

An estimated several thousand folks bore witness to the Girl’s birthday party, which lasted from 12pm to 10pm, and even Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emmanuel joined in the festivities.

The huge success of the event is proudly celebrated and honored by the BMA gold Tower Award, residing in NEXT/NOW’s West Loop Chicago office. The project, captained by General Manager of NEXT/NOW Sheila Scullin, adds another success story to NEXT/NOW’s portfolio. Catch the video here.

NEXT/NOW is an award-winning interactive experiential agency, focused on creating next-generation digital/physical activated spaces and experiences for leading brands, retailers, and exhibits. NEXT/NOW clients include Accenture, Discover, Audi, Chicago Sports Museum, Farmers Insurance, John Deere, NBA, Big Ten Network, Morton Salt, Intel, KraftHeinz, Steelcase, Atlas Copco, NEC, Brunswick, LG Electronics and more. Visit their website at nextnowagency.com.