This is a guest post by Louise Felsher, CMP, CMM—Director of Marketing at Treasure Island Wines, a winery and tasting room on Treasure Island in SF. Treasure Island Wines consistently hosts enticing and irreverent wine events (be sure to check out their upcoming Bottlestock 2011 and this summer’s 2nd Annual Harvest Howl!) Here are Louise’s 3 suggestions for introducing some healthy irreverence to your gatherings.

Breaking through the new media static requires an infusion of creativity; it’s essential that you differentiate your event concepts and marketing campaigns. But maintaining ingenuity is difficult, and becoming paralyzed by a creative ‘rut’ is inevitable when you are overwhelmed by tactics and competition. At Treasure Island Wines – The Original Winery and Tasting Room on Treasure Island – the “Original” aspect of our lock up does not just indicate we are the pioneers and the first winery on the island (now emulated by two others). It means our brand, wine and experiences must consistently represent the relentless pursuit of originality. Here are some of my unconventional yet surefire methods for catalyzing creativity:

1. Seek a Foreign Setting

I find immersing myself in a foreign environment will shake free the freshest ideas and concepts. This is true whether you need to determine an event theme or design a comprehensive marketing strategy. I seek out the most unfamiliar and often unsettling settings I can find to recalibrate my inspiration receptors. For example, recent trips to a restaurant auction warehouse and obscure hardware stores motivated a deconstructed décor concept for an upcoming event for a multinational aviation group – including centerpieces with fasteners, bolts and flowers encased in ice.

Similarly, a recent opportunistic walk through the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio provided a number of invaluable breakthroughs for event marketing messaging on handling failure/setbacks. I would not have sought out this venue had I not been attending a SPIN Think Tank. Although I have never connected with the famous mouse, I was shaken and inspired by Disney’s short life, his ability to both perceive and leverage the advantages of profound disappointment, his belief in risk, and his survival of dramatic betrayal and economic devastation.

2. Scare It Out of You

The strategic partnership of adrenalin and invention should not be underestimated. Pursue whatever scares the heck out of you, whether it is public speaking or calling in to a radio station to make a comment live. For example, days before redesigning what was to become a standing room–only experiential event on innovation at an iconic tech conference, I went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and rode the Giant Dipper five times straight – mostly with my eyes open…

3. Science, History and Design – The Ultimate Turbo-boosters

When in need of a creativity turbo-booster I turn on the science or history cable channels – or visit my go-to websites online (,, to devour new and old stories on science, history and design, particularly seeking breakthroughs/revelations on the classics. My recent events, messaging and marketing campaigns have been influenced and even structured by a wide array of eccentric stimulators from fractals, car designs, ancient war strategy redux and experimental technology.