On Wednesday morning, the third day of AD:TECH, with exhibitor booths gone, registration area removed and carpets lifted, the Hilton started to look like a hotel again rather than the glorious concentration of smart marketers it became for a few days. As is usual on the third day of the conference, only sessions are held which brought the number of attendees down to less than 1,000.
Walking through meeting room area of the hotel, one wondered if AD:TECH actually happened. Signage for other conferences was up. Walking without arms colliding with inappropriate body parts was possible. And a sense of loneliness hung in the air as friends and associates headed across the country back to their respective cities and homes. We eagerly look forward to seeing them all again in April at AD:TECH San Francisco.
The final day's AD:TECH keynote was given by Creative Artists Agency Entertainment Division CEO Mike Windsor and Berlin Cameron Managing Partner Avi Dan. The thrust of the talk centered on the now common theme of consumer control and the wane of traditional media. While Windsor prognosticated the death of mass “push” media and the rise of involvement and conversation marketing, Dan, while agreeing mass marketing has seen its day, claims the :30 is still a viable ad unit.
Windsor began by citing a dramatic rise in spend on alternative marketing offering the Hollister, Lounge 22 in store concerts and the ilovebees campaign for the online game Halo which required people to solve a mystery using both on and offline methods as examples. Windsor also advocated a focus on creating passion for a brand using the TiVo-Sex and the City example, even while acknowledging that was not a paid placement. As part of embracing passion-based marketing, Windsor told marketers to listen and understand their own customer's passions and cater to those passions. Passion begets passion. Windsor said brands that cater to consumers passions will fare better in the consumer controlled marketplace.
Dan admitted to the audience he may be seen as the sacrificial lamb but insisted the :30 still has a place in the marketing tool kit citing the effectiveness, long term recall an cultural proliferation of Super Bowl commercials. That said, he stated the gap between consumer spend on media related products and ad spend is the narrowest its every been indicating the consumer may, in fact, be taking over. While many cite TiVo as the death of the television advertising medium, Dan claimed it's the best thing that's happened for marketers with its potential, along with Neilsen's, to measure which commercial are watch and which are not effectively killing bad ads.
Dan also admitted mass marketing is over and suggested a new era of tribal marketing which he described as a combination of niche marketing, fragmentation and designer brand product development. With the fall of mass marketing and intrusion marketing, Dan said collaboration with consumers during product development and customer management, versus brand management, will lead to success.
In the Q and A, an audience member asked how mass marketing can move to a more consumer focused approach if marketers continue to express their methods with warlike terminology such as targeting, acquiring, launching and blitzing. Windsor replied with a logical, straight forward answer. "when marketing becomes a dialog, this will change. A dialog is not a war."
Do I Have Cellulite?
Following Monday's all out, non-stop, multi-party bash, the social scene Tuesday night was less harried than Monday's with fewer parties, more one on one dinners and a slower pace. There were no exhibit hall parties as exhibitors were more concerned with packing up their booths as fast as possible once the hall closed so many headed out to dinner or drinks with friends to start the night.
The first stop for our entourage was the Hilton Hotel bar. Yes, we know it's not very exciting but it was time well spent after standing up on the floor all day doing business. Drinks and appetizers were shared with Underscore Marketing's Tom Hespos and Jim Meskauskas as well as Integrated Media Solutions' Jason Oates. After debating the merits of the consumer control trend and, visiting Booble on our hand helds to pass time, Tom and Jim headed off to a client dinner and we cabbed our way down to the Eyeblaster Awards party at Show.
Mommy, Where Am I?
In what turned out to be both brilliant and, at the same time, confusing event planning, the Eyeblaster Awards party was held at the same venue as the Bluelithium AD:TECH After Party. The brilliant part was once at the Eyeblaster Awards, there was no need to venture out into the cold to another club to attend the Bluelithium party. The not so brilliant part occurred when Show and Bluelithium attempted to clear the place of everyone to effectively restart their party fresh. After about one half hour of nudging by bouncers, music lowered by DJ's and raised lights, it became clear no one already present was going to leave simply to stand in line outside in the cold waiting to get back in. Not logical. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the DJ kicked off the Bluelitium party with a simple "Welcome to the Bluelithium party" announcement. We don't know our music very well but we'd describe the style as a form of Latin-laced dance pop.
We Cool. We Groove
For its small size, Show handled the crowd quiet well. While filled to capacity, our group found an area to the right of the stage in the front of the venue that was spacious enough to move about and talk without tearing a vocal chord. We met Neal Sheridan from HomeStore and the crew from Catalano Lellos & Silverstein including new media hires Ami Hoberg and Mike Valentin and graphic designer Alice Anda. Both Mike and Alice ripped up our little corner of the dance floor with their smooth moves. Even though Alice had the urge, no amount of persuading could get the two of them up on the platform in the center of the floor. That didn't stop her from attempting to persuade us to hop up and become the joke of AD:TECH New York 2004 with our far less than acceptable dancing skills. Luckily, sobriety was in attendance and the suggestion was politely declined.
Crises averted, it was good fun to hang with the two and to marvel at Alice's uncanny ability to know, and lip synch, the lyrics to every song the DJ threw down. Not to mention looking at the cute pictures of her and her dog on her camera.
We Are Like So hot!
While our group never made it up, there were people that did manage to find their way up to the various platforms throughout Show. Yes, the requisite AD:TECH table/pole dancers were in attendance causing hundreds of cameras to flash away in what could only be described as a digital drool fest. While flashes lit up the club, two of the dancers climbed up on the bar - which just happened to have a pole in the middle of it - and began grinding and thrusting as onlookers crowded for an unobstructed view. The third dancer climbed onto a raised platform in the back of the club and clearly possessed the highest level of thrustability. View the clip off the pic link below and you'll agree.
The night ended conversing with our favorite AD:TECH friend with whom more Polaroid pictures were exchanged and an enjoyable cab ride home was shared.
There are many, many more full sized pictures and a video clip for your enjoyment here. Be sure to check out Bluelithium's professional photographs of the event. They make ours look horrific. Oh, but wait. We meant to go for that blurry style.