An Oscar Envelope Preview Party
It’s said (lovingly of course) that people in Los Angeles will come to the opening of an envelope. Certainly, events are the social grease that keeps this town running, yet there are some envelopes that not only Los Angeles, but the world, awaits to be opened. Those envelopes would be those thick, rich red and gold creations that contain the names of the Oscar winners.
That opening line is courtesy of Marc Friedland who, after 25 years designing invitations to some of the most coveted events of our time, not to mention hundreds of day-to-day celebrations, has heard more than his fair share of envelope-related humor.
But the one that has really sealed his image (see?) is the Oscar winner envelopes, as well as those invitations for Oscar parties that he’s produced each year along with them. Surprisingly, the Oscar envelopes, while being in existence for 74 years (a tradition that began when unsealed names were leaked to the press), they have only been custom designed for four and only by Friedland and his team.
This year, Friedland invited more than 250 guests to his creative studio in Los Angeles to, well, if not to see the opening of the envelope, at least view the making of it. One after another, guests filed out of luxury cars on a Wednesday afternoon and onto the red carpet laid on a sidewalk in Los Angeles.
Unlike at the Oscars, this red carpet was not lined with camera flashes, just flashes of inspiration. Guests followed it into the studio, past the company’s many jaw-dropping invitations and into the airy loft-like space. It continued past a table where white-gloved workers were putting the final touches on the actual Oscar winning envelopes, then into an Oscar envelope museum where white and Plexi cases displayed fun facts and artifacts from Oscar envelope lore.
In addition to the Oscar preview party at the Dolby Theater where the ceremony actually takes place, with all the elements (food, flowers, furniture and design), the Oscars gave Friedland permission this year to produce this focused gathering. “We wanted to give people a bird’s eye view into what goes into making the most famous envelopes in the world,” Friedland says. “They are seen by one billion people in 225 countries, but they are owned by less than 100 Oscar winners.”
As would be expected, no one was allowed to actually see what was in the envelopes that day. In fact, the system for keeping that information secret is elaborate. “We create one winner’s envelope for each of the nominees,” Friedland explains. “PricewaterhouseCoopers picks them all up and when they are done tabulating the Academy votes, the ones that don’t contain a winner’s name are destroyed. They don’t want to risk these turning up on e-Bay.”
Friedland’s team also makes three sets of these envelopes, one for each of the partners from Pricewaterhouse who travel separately with them to the show, and one backup in case something were to happen to both of these people. Everything is riding on the integrity of this system.”
The envelopes certainly are a symbol of not only that integrity, but the tradition that goes with that now-famous phrase: “And the envelope please.” Guests at the party posed with envelopes as if posing with a celebrity. And truly, the most famous envelope in the world has certainly come into its 15 minutes of fame.
“Envelopes to me, no matter what, have a mystique. They can transport that person back in time. You will always remember when you get an invitation, something that can’t be done digitally. I don’t think the winners’ envelopes will ever be relegated to an iPad.”
One has to agree. The phrase “…and the iPad please” just doesn’t carry the same cache.
Marc Friedland Couture Communications is producing the envelopes that will contain the names of the winners for the La Vie en Couleur Industry Awards Presentation taking place March 26, 7 – 10 at the Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow.
This post first appeared March 13 on Designdawgs
eNews March 2014