How the Miracle on the Hudson Saved Lives and Event Budget
Updated: Aug 31
Like every industry in America, the event business is having to contend with budget pressure from rising costs. However, unlike other industries, producers of events can sometimes alleviate budget challenges with creative solutions. At Velocity XD, we have been “getting creative” on behalf of client’s budgets for years. The following is one such story you may have already heard. It’s when we started to build our reputation for creativity and innovative problem solving.
Remember Captain Chesley Sullenberger? The cool-headed pilot that safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River after both engines were disabled by a flock of birds. Captain Sully relied on the airline’s rigid safety processes and his emergency training to calmly land an Airbus A320, carrying 150 people, on the Hudson River with no serious injuries to passengers or boaters on the water. It was 2009 and “Sully” was an immediate hero and in high demand on the speaker circuit commanding up to $100k for an appearance.
Shortly after the “Miracle on the Hudson”, we were asked by our long-time client, Xerox, to book Captain Sully for an upcoming analyst meeting to be held at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Booking Sully as a keynote speaker was thought to be a no-brainer, a certain hit at the event, and a great choice to reinforce the event’s core message of how Xerox’s products and services provide improved business processes that allow their customers to deliver better business results.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. As it turned out, Sully was a true hero and by all reports a gem of a guy. He just wasn’t a dynamic speaker. And his fee of $100k was also a budget-buster.
Delivering an impactful presentation about the Miracle of the Hudson was going to require a new approach. Our creative team and talent manager worked together to craft a truly unique experience. We turned the keynote into a panel discussion with US Airways Flight 1549 First Officer (co-pilot) Jeff Skiles leading a conversation, along with the Air Traffic Controller, one of the flight attendants, and a passenger on board for that harrowing landing. We worked with the individual panelists to craft a dynamic presentation supported by imagery and video clips to deliver their stories. These four new heroes told their breathtaking personal accounts of the incident. Notably it was the first time that these four had been together to present their collective stories. This unique, never-been-done-before experience delivered the required message and wowed the audience, at a fraction of the keynote cost. In the words of the client, “The presentation was extremely well organized and delivered, and extraordinarily compelling. In fact, the session was the ‘home run’ of our event at Citi Field.”
We agree it was a home run for the audience and a home run for our client. At Velocity XD, we are deep with creative expertise that can bring fresh, impactful, and affordable approaches to the biggest moments on your biggest stage. We are always happy to put together some high-value ideas for a prospective project. Give us a shout if you think creative can be a problem solver for you.
If you want to learn more about the actual Miracle on the Hudson, you might check out Clint Eastwood’s 2016 movie Sully with Tom Hanks in the title role.