The panel entitled "Measuring Your Brand Buzz in Consumer Generated Media" moderated by Organic CEO Mark Kingdon along with panelists Jonathon Carson, president and CEO of Buzzmetrics, Pete Blackshaw, CMO of Intelliseek, Dave Balter, President of BuzzAgent and Andrew Bernstein, CEO of Cymfony, focused on how consumer generated media has become an important source of brand information for marketers and how it can me measured to benefit marketing direction.
A key recommendation from all panelists was to relinquish control. Consumer generated media can not be controlled. However, it can be listened to and joined in a way that provides marketers rich detail about brand perception and a channel through which to directly communicate with consumers. Blackshaw referred to some the the negative consumer commentary as "nastygrams" and Kingdon noted that this sort of consumer backlash has been around forever but, today, it's all happening much faster and has become harder to manage in advance.
Aside from the company whose slogan is, Wanna Be On Top," the "booth attractions" at this year's New York ad:tech show were few and far between. At CPA Empire's booth, a lovely lady dressed in a red ballerina dress with wings was handing out pins with numbers on them which attendees could match with other pins with the same number to win plasma TV's. Not a bad promotion and well worth the excuse to visit the booth to observe and participate.
There were no less than seven parties, that we knew of, Monday night, the first night following the first day of ad:tech New York 2005 and we made it to six so we'll do our best to sum up the evening's activities for you if, for some unknown reason, you weren't there to experience it all for yourself.
As is tradition, Tribal Fusion hosted its Grand Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall following a very busy, very crowded day on the exhibit hall floor. There was Tribal Fusion-branded beer, various wines and finger food to enjoy along with the company of the eMarketer crew, Waisum Tam and David Murrow. While we're sure the AC was doing its best to fight the body heat of 8,300 attendees, it wasn't quite cutting it and we opted to head out of the Exhibit Hall and down to the Hilton Hotel's Bridges bar for the Partner Weekly cocktail party.
This year, Partner Weekly made the event invite only and sealed off the usually very open Bridges bar and dressed up the entrance with red velvet curtains and a red carpet to, we assume, make us all feel important. The inside was transformed into a casual nightclub atmosphere with low lighting and candles. Since the food at this party was emanating from th same kitchen as Tribal Fusion's we were less than thrilled at placing yet another ball of fried something into our mouth so we just ditched the food and headed to the bar. At this point the extended eMarketer crew was with us (pictured) along with Tia Fix from PrimaryAds and a discussion ensued about how busy this year's show is and whether the industry is still trying to legitimize itself or if that has been achieved.
Ad placements don't get much better than this. AKQA got lucky here with its "Time for Treo?" campaign.
In an effort to connect and re-connect those working within the industry and to add a bit of fun to the business like environment of ad:tech, an event called Connect LIVE, held in the East Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel, aimed to get people to open up and let others truly get to know one another.
In the center of the Ballroom was the main event - The Hotseat. Twenty-five people sat in a circle surrounding one individual who, in the Hotseat was asked, by the moderator, ad:tech Chair Susan Bratton, questions designed to cut though the preponderance of industry fluff, exaggerated research findings and over-used industry platitudes. All attendees had to wear costumes or at least a hat which, based on the low turnout, appeared to be a bit off-putting to conference goers. For those who did attend, though, it was a very enjoyable experience in that people as people were highlighted rather than people highlighting their companies which, in this day of meaningless puffery, was a welcome sight. We learned that Intelliseek's Pete Blackshaw hates his hybrid car and blogs about it. We learned that Target Marketing's Jim Sterne doesn't stare at cleavage. We learned that ad:tech Marketing Director Meredith Medland loves to dance in public.
Corny as it all may sound, it did set aside the usual formality of most conference sessions and brought together a bunch of industry people in a way that, well, just isn't normally done at most business conferences.
For added coverage of ad:tech New York's activities, session, keynotes, news and other show-related activity, ad:tech has launched ad:tech daily, an eight page printed piece which will be distributed at the show Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The daily can be found in and around the event area.