Holland & Barrett Carnival

A Conference Carnival for a loved British Brand

Setting the scene

Holland & Barrett’s retail conference, gathering together 1600 members of the team, is the most important date on the communication calendar. Each year is hosted with the purpose of instilling a sense of pride and motivation for the store teams, and celebrating their success to date. Holland & Barrett are approaching their future growth more aggressively than ever before. This year more than any other, Holland & Barrett really do mean business.

Meet & Potato needed to create a brand experience that wholly embodied this loved British brand. We were tasked with producing an immersive, engaging, and inspirational 2-day delegate journey that was both conceptual in relation to future developments, but also full of tangible takeaways giving delegates interesting ideas and effective solutions they could implement immediately in their store.


The event story

Brand experience was a key objective of this event and it was clear to see in its entirety that we achieved above and beyond expectations. For two days we hired the whole of the Butlins Resort in Minehead. From arrival, delegates were immersed in a H&B playground, fit with funfair, BBQ and band on The Green. It was a feast for the senses and a true Carnival experience. Lights were out early on evening number one ready for an early start the next day, as H&B exhibitors worked their magic on the delegates before they were led into the main plenary by a huge carnival parade. At 9.30am, the atmosphere was electric!

Out from the main plenary, into four fantastically themed breakouts, which communicated their specific key messages aptly, each and every breakout was carefully produced based on the content sessions that we put in place in the lead up to the event. Our content team works very closely with all presenters to help shape a powerful and engaging breakout session that will pack a punch with delegates, really getting key messages across. In these sessions we used VT’s effectively to support content. Our VT team are experts at drawing the right sentiments out of people in order to get those ever important soundbites which either pull on the heartstrings or make delegates laugh. Emotions that are equally important in rousing at any internal communications event.

Following the breakouts sessions, delegates headed back to the main room to be treated to a store-led lip sync battle. Accompanied by their VT’s, some stylish and filmic, some downright hilarious the store teams battled it out.

But one performance in particular, featuring the CEO and COO of the company, had delegates out of their seats and cheering wildly!  And that was all before the gala dinner.

At 7pm sharp a drinks reception was held where you could feel the anticipation building before the big reveal. Once the curtains were drawn, the 1600-person strong dinner arrangement was exposed in the Skyline Pavilion, looking beautiful. As delegates filtered through they were treated to a floor based acrobatic display, followed by an extremely impressive high wire act. Dessert was accompanied by African dancers performing on stage followed swiftly with coffee when the evening ended with an almighty display from the flame thrower. The evening over maybe but the night had only just begun as delegates made their way to Club H&B where they could party through to the wee hours.

Each and every detail aforementioned was very carefully planned by the M&P team. From the beginning we knew that the client wanted a ‘WOW’ event yet it took developing the content with them to fully understand how best to produce this. It became apparent that though the company have a wholesome and soft exterior, they are made from very strong stuff. This was a sentiment to be delivered throughout the conference and we felt the best way to get this across was an all-out celebration. An energetic, enthusiastic approach to the company, to their work and to life in general. And what better way to display this but with a carnival?


After the final curtain