A secret agent in Fira

Anacleto A secret agent in Fira

One of the most famous spies of the past 50 years is on a special mission in Fira. It’s not James Bond… more like Agent 86. We are talking about Anacleto, the beloved secret agent from the Spanish comic. This mythical character, created by the great Manuel Vázquez in 1964 for Editorial Bruguera, was one of the few people of the time that was ‘licensed to screw up’ (or con licencia para meter la pata, the Spanish title published in 1972).

His adventures—a parody of the novels and series of this genre such as 007, with hidden passageways, villains and coded messages—come to life on the big screen through the eyes of director Javier Ruiz Caldera (3 bodas de más, Promoción fantasma). The film, produced by Zeta Cinema, has an all-star cast, led by Imanol Arias and Quim Gutiérrez, along with other familiar faces such as Alexandra Giménez, Berto Romero, Carlos Areces, Rossy de Palma and Emilio Gutiérrez Cava.

One of the locations for the filming of Anacleto: agente secreto [Anacleto: secret agent], which takes place in Barcelona, is precisely hall 5 in the Montjuïc venue, which for a few days, according to the script, will be turned into a train station. Who knows what adventures—or misadventures—this unique spy will have at Fira? To find out, we will have to wait for the film to premiere in 2015.

A Hidden Treasure

Font1 A Hidden Treasure

The Magic Fountain is, with no doubt, one of the most emblematic features of Montjuïc mountain, with over 2.5 million tourists who visit Barcelona every year travelling to see it. Due to the recent restoration of the Venetian towers in Plaça d’Espanya (see our recent post), we discovered one of the treasures hidden in the installations built for the International Exposition in 1929: the original electric switchboard for the light and water show designed for the occasion.

Designed by engineer Carles Buigas, the fountain has 3,600 nozzles that shoot out two to four cubic metres of water per second. From the western tower (that closest to Hall 8), the lighting for the fountains as well as the towers of light that ran along either side of Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina and the hall façades was switched on and off.

Font2 A Hidden Treasure

Two of the fountain’s great innovations were the water spray system, without which the coloration of the fountains would not have been uniform, and the creation of a remote control system that allowed the ‘pianist’, as the person in charge of managing the show was known, to control the fountains through a keyboard located over the restaurant La Pèrgola, turning the play of light and water into a veritable concert instead of a mechanised programme.

Barcelona: a congress-friendly city

Congressos2 Barcelona: a congress friendly city

Year after year, Barcelona’s profile as an economic and business hub grows stronger and stronger. The Barcelona brand is no longer just associated with tourism but also with foreign investment, competitiveness and the organization of congresses, an area in which it is among the top 10 cities in the world according to the Barcelona  Observatory’s 2014  report presented this week by Barcelona City Council and the Chamber of Commerce.

According to the report, in 2013 some 179 international congresses without fixed venues were held in Barcelona, a figure that represents growth of over 16% compared to the previous year and which has boosted the city to fourth place on the global city ranking, currently topped by Paris. Furthermore, Barcelona is the world’s top congress city in terms of the number of delegates at these events, and third in the number of congresses without fixed venues organized between 2008 and 2012, with 519,159 delegates attending 822 conventions, according to the International Congress and Conventions Association (ICCA).

The city is also increasingly positioning itself as a global reference for hosting IT and technology congresses. In this respect, the Barcelona Convention Bureau estimates that around 37% of all the symposiums held in 2013 were medical, 14% were on technology and 12% were scientific.

Looking back, it is compelling to see how, over the last 20 years, the city has quadrupled the number of congresses it holds, thus increasing its wealth and competitiveness, but what is even more compelling today is looking towards the future; according to the Financial Times, Barcelona holds seventh place in the ranking of European cities of the future in terms of economic development and quality of life.

The greenest Fira

The commitment to environmental sustainability has been one of the hallmarks of Fira de Barcelona since 2007 when we launched a comprehensive sustainability programme that grouped its former initiatives with completely new ones. Its commitment to minimize the impact of the events held in Fira and entice exhibitors and organizers with a combination of pioneering protocols to minimize energy consumption and waste, and the construction of the Gran Via venue, a leader in environmental sustainability, has made Fira an international benchmark.
Proof of this is that one of the rooms that welcomes Fira, the Mobile World Congress, became his last year in or-no net carbon emissions, the world’s largest “carbon neutral” event. To achieve certification, organizer GSMA event, had an important ally in the Gran Via, designed by renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito, not only for its modernity but also by its capacity for energy saving and emission reduction as last year we showed in this video.

Among the solutions that equips the grounds include a photovoltaic plant on the roof of the enclosure capable of producing 5,868 GWh/year and prevent the emission of 3,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere; efficient HVAC and lighting systems that take advantage of natural ventilation (free cooling) and natural light; DHW solar thermal; use of ground water, and an architectural double skin which thermally insulates the venue as well as the use bioclimatic patios.
In addition, the programme also focuses on waste reduction within Fira’s events. This has been achieved through a policy of prevention focused on eco-design of stands that use organic or recycled materials that are also recyclable and reusable, locally sourced -reducing transport costs and emissions-, and also reducing the weight of the materials used. The programme also features a protocol for collecting, processing, management and treatment of waste that minimizes their environmental impact.

1,000 ways of helping

More than 2.3 million children in Spain live below the poverty threshold. They don’t know what the crisis is or what being unemployed means, but they are its main victims. This has been highlighted by UNICEF in its annual report which reveals that 23% of Spanish families with one or two children are suffering deprivation, barely managing to subsist on less than 14,700 euros per year for two adults and two children.
This situation is exacerbated in the summer with the closure of school canteens, where at least children were able to get a nutritious meal suited to their age group, and in some extreme cases their only meal of the day. In addition, the number of food donations drops in summer. Unfortunately, hunger does not go away on holiday. Under this slogan (“Hunger doesn’t go on holiday”), the second edition of a campaign coordinated by the four food banks in Catalonia is being rolled out to help people in our country. The aim is to reach more than 250,000 beneficiaries.
What do we need? Basic foodstuffs with a high nutritional value such as rice, pasta, pulses, oil and milk. There are more than 1,000 ways of collaborating, through over 700 charitable organizations and associations, companies, institutions, etc. that have come on board the initiative by organizing a host of activities. The Fira de Barcelona is one of them. From tomorrow until Friday 4 July, Hall 1 of the Montjuïc Exhibition Centre will become a centre for receiving food donations. Last year, we managed to collect 500 kilos of food in this one space. If you care, collaborate.
Choose how you want to help here

Music+Art+Business=Sónar

Sonar2014 Music+Art+Business=Sónar

When Ricard Robles, Enric Palau and Sergi Caballero launched Sónar in 1994, they could have had no idea that the Barcelona-based festival of advanced music and new media art would become one of the world’s biggest events of its kind. With just 6,000 attendees at the debut event, it now attracts stratospheric numbers: 110,000 people visited the last edition which was held recently at the Montjuïc and Gran Via exhibition centres, where a daily record of 52,000 visitors was recorded. A mere handful!

The three friends have discovered the formula for success, an almost perfect equation that combines art and leisure, avant-garde and experimentation, with the intensive promotion of electronic music, a highly dynamic sector that moves more than 6,200 million dollars worldwide.

The result is Sónar, a hybrid event that falls somewhere between a 24-hour dance floor, a congress, a laboratory of ideas and a business platform for the representatives of record producers, concert promoters and audiovisual creators. This innovative format has already been exported to cities such as Reykjavik, Buenos Aires, New York, London, Frankfurt, Los Angeles and Tokyo, amongst many others.

For some years now, the music industry has seen these macro-festivals as a goldmine for their business, somewhere to not only find out about the latest trends and new talents but also to meet up with industry peers and firm up business deals. And that’s not all: these massively attended macro-events also transform the cities in which they are held and have a powerful economic impact on the immediate area. There is no doubt at all that they represent very healthy business format.

How to sell yourself in three minutes

We live in a world in which image, immediacy and getting to the point are the rulers of both personal and professional relations. And a new player has come to play a fundamental role: Internet and the viral capacity of social networks like Twitter or Youtube. This scenario has forced all industries to take their positions to keep themselves in the game, and the world of business is no exception.

Bizbarcelona has been solid proof of this. A total of 50 messages were recorded at the video pitch sessions of the trade show, a benchmark event for the world of SMEs, entrepreneurs and freelancers  held on the 4th and 5th of June at Fira’s Montjuïc venue.

BizBarcelona built a recording set and made it available to visitors interested in making their own promotional message to start building their personal brand. With the help of communications experts, interested attendees made a three-minute video with their message, which was then posted on BizBarcelona’s YouTube channel. A new way to sell yourself and ensure the widest potential audience is reached.

So… Lights, camera and action!

PitchBiz How to sell yourself in three minutes

25 metres for a dream

It’s May in Barcelona and the Bridal Week is back. 42 Nordic, Mediterranean and African beauties arrive backstage at the Gaudi Novias Catwalk with a clean face and squeezed into their jeans. A team of 15 makeup artists, 15 hairdressers and 6 manicurists take 2 hours to create the new image for a perfect bride. When they are ready, the last thing is the dress with its accessories: a team of 5 seamstresses put the finishing touches so that the models can showcase the outfits under 80 spotlights along the 25-metre catwalk that separates them from over 50 flashes of the photographers and of the dreams of brides from around the world.    

Denim, the origin of a myth

Denim Denim, the origin of a myth It receives many names and has many fathers, but it continues to triumph more than ever. It is, undoubtedly, the most democratic and egalitarian garment in the world, used by men, women, the rich, the poor, yuppies and hippies.

In Madrid and in Buenos Aires they are vaqueros (from the Spanish word for cowboy), but in Barcelona they are known as tejanos (from the Spanish word for Texan). For Americans they are blue jeans or jeans, in Cuba, they are called “pitusa” and “mahones” in Puerto Rico.

For decades, these trousers made from a cotton fabric called “denim” were worn by labourers. However, in the nineteen fifties, they became a non-conformist symbol. These days, they are a multi-use garment, with many diverse nuances. They are still used for working, but they move comfortably in all areas. Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Dior brought them into the world of haute couture.

The history of jeans as a garment is as fascinating as the origins of the name. It dates back to Genoa in the 12th century: a resistant cotton fabric in brown for sailors and fishermen. Washing them in sea water turned them completely white so a blue or indigo dye was added. The blue trousers from Genoa (Genes in French) became blue jeans in England.

One of the main centres for manufacturing the cotton fabric of these trousers was the French city of Nimes. Pronunciation did the rest. This is how the name of the fabric came about, according to the French who are always competing with the Italians in matters of fashion: “De Nimes” (from Nimes) hence “denim”.

However, it is clear that jeans as we know them were created in the United States by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis in 1873, who gave them the shape and metallic reinforcements. Paradoxically, the big users of jeans were not ranch hands but miners and workers on the railway lines.

Denim is the textile industry’s biggest growing fabric. Its annual production is in excess of 6.7 billion metres, 40% of which comes from China and 25% between USA, Canada and South America. This warrants a trade fair like the one taking place on May 2st and 22nd in the Montjuïc exhibition centre, Denim by Première Vision, held until now in Paris, which showcases everything related to design, production and treatment of the fabrics.

In 1986, Life magazine published that 13 pairs of jeans were old every second. Since then, the business has just grown and grown.

Popeye, comic and branded content

Comic Popeye, comic and branded contentFor 85 years, he has been sailing the seas of printed paper, cinema, TV and now videogames and the new digital apps as if it were nothing. Popeye the Sailor Man is as fresh as a rose, at an unspecific age, with his eternal girlfriend Olive, his friend Brutus and baby Swee’Pea.

Popeye is featured in the new edition of the Barcelona International Comic Fair with an exhibition that looks at his long career since he was created by Elzie Crisler Segar, as a kind hearted sailor who is strong as an ox due to the fact that he eats spinach.

He then went on to feature in the cinema, on the radio and TV. Popeye has starred in over 200 short films, four television series, a film directed by Robert Altman and various special programmes.

However, Popeye’s scope goes beyond the comic world. Just ask the inhabitants of Crystal City, Texas, where there is a monument in honour of this fictional character. The Crystal region is one of biggest producers of spinach, a vegetable high in iron but low in price, a very valuable virtue during the years of America’s Great Depression caused by the 1929 financial crisis. Popeye ate spinach directly from a tin can and this gave him a superhuman strength.  With the comic strips published in the country’s leading newspapers, spinach production increased by 33% in the United States. Alma, in the state of Arkansas, also has a monument to Popeye and claims to be the capital of spinach.

The case of Popeye has been studied inside and out by marketing experts, given as an example of one of history’s first branded content strategies (in which the brand is part of the experience). It aims to entertain the consumer, transmit values but not sell a product directly. The product is part of the environment. In other words: the best branded content is one that goes unnoticed.

Popeye and spinach advanced by means of modest comic strips and simple short films. Today, brands spend thousands of Euros to be present on social networks, especially YouTube, and achieve the big viral miracle with millions of reproductions.

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