by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com
CHICAGO, IL. – More than 50 Filipino and Asian American promoters nationwide weathered the coldest weekend in Chicago to attend the first annual Asian Nightlife Conference (TANC) held at the Fairmont Hotel last January 18.
Asian American and FilAm nightclub promoters, marketing representatives and Disc Jockeys (DJs) from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, New York, Connecticut, Las Vegas, and Orlando, among others represented their respective cities to this invitation only event.
Hosted by Dynasty Empire, a Chicago-based marketing company, The Asian Nightlife Conference educated promoters on various brands that serve the nightclub scene and created a marketplace for Asian American talents in front of the biggest promoters across the nation.
“It also serves as a networking opportunity for Asian American nightlife promoters to get ideas from other promoters elsewhere and apply it to their own events,” said Lyle del Mundo, President of Dynasty Empire.
Del Mundo started TANC as a way to raise the awareness of corporations about the Asian American youth market and for them to work hand in hand with promoters when throwing their events.
“Corporations have been ignoring the Asian American segment for years because they are really unfamiliar with the demographic,” said del Mundo. “They still feel there is a cultural, language, heritage, and lifestyle differences which is so not true. “
Del Mundo said that while there are still a lot of marketing agencies across the country that do target Asian Americans, these companies have not been youth lifestyle-driven.
“So, larger corporations are really starting to get aggressive towards our demographic because they really see the potential and our segments buying power overall minority groups,” he said.
The numbers don’t lie. Corporations most recently have been trying to attract the Asian American buying power. Reports show that Asian Americans have nearly $254 billion in annual buying power in the US. The Selig Center for Economic Growth projects that Asian American spending power will reach $528 billion by 2009.
“Our research shows that Asian Americans have three times the amount of buying power as African-Americans and other minority groups,” said Diana Stephens, a marketing manager at Diageo-Illinois. Stephens spoke at the conference to share the corporation side of targeting a niche group. “Asian Americans have the highest per-capita-household.”
Temperatures may have dropped to sub-zero degrees outside, but inside the Fairmont hotel things were heating up.
Throughout the four-day-conference, the promoters attended a variety of workshops that discussed matters like acquiring corporate sponsorships, strategic marketing techniques, events productions, and even the importance of radio DJ’s for events.
Tom Yamada of NVR MT Promotions in Seattle attended the event to network with other promoters and to learn about acquiring corporate sponsorships.
“It’s all about relationship building,” said Yamada. “Just to network and to sell yourself, your company and your city. My main thing was to learn about sponsorships and how to present myself to these companies. We want to show them that we’ve made a difference in our company and our city.”
Yamada said that the nightlife is not just about having a good time.
“We throw parties but we also throw fundraisers,” he added. “We’ve given money to [victims] of Katrina, the tsunami and toys for tots.”
Allen Palos of Usual Suspects LA agrees.
“One of my friends suffered a heart attack and we’re throwing a fundraiser to help his family,” said Palos.
Palos added that people don’t understand the nightlife can also be a way to educate and bring together younger Asian and FilAms about important causes that are happening in the community.
Mike Villanueva of the Orlando-based company, Deepvision Entertainment, attended the event to learn more about trade secrets. Villanueva said that Orlando has a very small FilAm market so his company has to cater to the larger Asian American population and college scene.
“I’m just here to talk to people and hope they can share their experience with me,” said Villanueva. “We’re all over the country but we’re basically doing the same thing. I’m just interested in learning how they do things and [how they] promote their events.”
Chris Miguel of Vegas Bachelorette Services in Las Vegas serves as a nightclub host in the Las Vegas area. She said the TANC is a great opportunity to brainstorm and learn about the different ways other promoters from the various cities promote their event.
“It’s also a good way to introduce talented Asian Americans,” she said. “We’ll have Jo Koy or Apl.de.ap headline an event but other talented Asian American artists will have a chance to showcase their skills too.”
“We all know that Filipinos have talent,” added Marlon Vigan of Dynasty Empires. “There are a lot of Filipino DJ’s nationwide. We need to try to get them more exposure and to organize the Filipinos from all across the country.”
Attendees participated in the workshops during the day and partied at different clubs to at night.
Christine Blanco, also known as DJ KrisCut, is a resident DJ at Paris nightclub in Las Vegas. She had a chance to showcase her skill at Ontourage, one of the hottest clubs in Chicago.
Vince Garcia, also known as DJ Flipside from B96 Chicago, said he came to the event like the others to network with other FilAm DJ’s from across the nation.
“I’m just glad to be part of this event,” he said.
Seeing the success of this first event, Del Mundo said plans are already underway for next year’s TANC.
“Next years event will be open to the public and will take place January 22-25, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.”