Disaster a-Go-Go!

}Poor San Francisco has weathered more than its share of natural disasters. Leave it to Red Sky Interactive to have some raucous fun with that fact.

It started innocently enough. Creative chief Joel Hladecek used his special effects acumen to design a “Download Party” (a quarterly event) as a salute to disaster master (and onetime ad agency owner) Irwin Allen’s 1970s disaster epics. “What could be a more appropriate theme,” Hladecek e-mailed the staff, “considering the state of the Internet tech stocks?” “It fits [our] commitment to interactive experiences,” adds an agency spokesperson, “since a disaster is such a consuming, primal experience. It’s life or death.”

Tell that to San Francisco’s finest. A fake second-floor fire—cleverly engineered with colored fabric strips and a fan—looked a bit too real, bringing firemen (and Shoptalk, who was working next door) to the scene. (Oops.) The police also arrived to check on an accident scene in front, which was also staged. (Double oops.)

Inside, the mood was euphoric as revelers dressed as Poseidon passengers celebrated a mock New Year’s with an “earthquake” complete with falling foam core bricks. Best of all, the event was a recruitment effort, and potential staffers had to be impressed with an agency party rowdy enough to summon the authorities.