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.
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.
Opening the 2005 New York ad:tech show, ad:tech Chair Susan Bratton appeared on stage wearing a pair of wings in a nod to an event later in the day called ad:tech Connect Live, where attendees can engage in some serious interaction. Bratton told the audience this year's ad:tech is the largest yet with 8,300 people expected to attend and over 230 exhibitors vying for attendees attention.
Bratton introduced the first keynote speaker, Lexus Marketing VP Deborah Wahl-Meyer who explained Lexus' approach to marketing embraces the notion that customers are like quests in one's own home and should be treated with dignity. Wahl-Meyer acknowledge the consumer is in the driver's seat today and calls many of the shots when it comes to marketing communication. With technology like TiVo and weblogs, consumers have far more control and voice then they ever had before.
Following the theme of today's New York City Marathon, ad:tech hosted a party for its exhibitors at the New York Hilton giving them a selection of food and beverage alongside a racetrack adhered to the floor of on of the Hilton's function rooms. Hot dogs, pizza, ice cream and drinks were served.
Interestingly, to get to this off the beaten path function room, a trip through the exhibit hall and up an escalator was required revealing yet another exhibit hall space with about 30 more exhibitors. That, in addition to the number of exhibitors on the main floor brings this to an all time high for the show. We're told upwards of 7,500 people will attend the show this week.
It's 12:30pm Sunday at the New York Hilton and you'd never know ad:tech New York 2005 was starting tomorrow morning. The exhibit hall looks like a large warehouse with boxes, crates and dollies all over the place being swiftly moved by crews racing the clock to be ready for the 6,000 who will descend upon the Hilton as the show opens.
While checking out the layout of things, we stumbled upon a crew of 20 or so preparing the attendee bags which will be handed out to all who show up. As is usually the case when people do the same thing 6,000 times in a row, things can get silly. Be sure to check out the video in the photo album of the crew singing "Dina Won't Ya Blow" or whatever that song is called.
The two people mugging for the camera at the end of the album are ad:tech Director of Marketing Meredith Medland and ad:tech Content Director Warren Picket taking a break from preparing speaker and press passes.
Below are two "film loops" from Film Loop you can join. They'll be updated with images over the three day period of the show.
As ad:tech New York, held at the Hilton New York November 7-9, approaches, the party invitations have begun to roll in. We thought we'd summarize the festivities here for you. First, there's the usual "official" cocktail parties Monday following the first day of the online marketing conference. After the first full day of activity in the Exhibit Hall, Tribal Fusion will host its Grand Opening Reception from 6P - 7P in and around the Exhibit Hall. Wine, beer and finger food will be served. Also beginning at 6P but extending until 8P will be the Partner Weekly "Red Carpet Rendezvous," an invite-only cocktail party held in the Hilton's Bridges Bar. No doubt, other companies will be hosting various events in and around the area.
For late night fun Monday, Bluelithium will host its Day One Wrap Up Party at New York's Glo beginning at 9P and extending until the wee hours of Tuesday. Coinciding with Bluelithium's party will be the Real Results Party, held at Crobar, beginning at 9P and hosted by a slew of online ad companies. Both parties will have open bar from 9P to Midnight.
Blender magazine and Cadillac will hosting an event, October 27th at a private Hollywood Hills mansion to celebrate Blender's inaugural "Rock & Roll Hollywood" November issue. Sponsored by Cadillac, Aldo, Absolut Vodka and St. Pauli Girl Beer, Blender's "Rock & Roll Hollywood" bash will combine entertainment's two most decadent lifestyles, music and film, into one memorable event.
Reportedly, 500 actors, musicians, entertainment insiders and tastemakers will attend to frolic in luxury suites, drink specialty cocktails, enjoy deluxe gift scwag bags and listen to a soundtrack provided by DJs Samantha Ronson and Brent Bolthouse. Live music will be supplied by The Shins, who, as the Rock & Roll Hollywood cover star Natalie Portman observed in Garden State will "change your life." We'll see. Also performing will be LA three-piece, The Like, recently covered in Blender's Almost Famous" feature.
Cadillac will have on hand its latest models including the Escalade ESV which will take guests from Sunset Boulevard to the secret party location, as well as be displayed outside whoever's fancy mansion the party is at. Guests will also be swarmed with advertising campaigns displayed by Absolut and Aldo while lowly St. Pauli Girl beer is served. Someone please invite us!
ad:tech is embarking on something new this year which it will kick off at the New York show in November. Called ad:tech Connect LIVE, the event, held Monday, November 7 from 12:45PM to 3PM in the East Ballroom of the Hilton New York is, in a way, a physical manifestation of ad:tech's recently launched online networking community ad:tech Connect. Billed as an experiential event, the East Ballroom will take on the look and feel of a music-filled, engagingly fun three-ring circus environment complete with costumed hosts, Ringmaster and plenty of snacks.
Ad:tech Connect LIVE, open to all attendees, will posses both educational and experiential elements. In the center of the Ballroom will be the main event - The Hotseat. Twenty-five people will sit in a circle surrounding one individual who, in the Hotseat will be asked, by the Ringmaster, ad:tech Chair and Radio Show Host, Susan Bratton, questions designed to cut though the preponderance of industry fluff, exaggerated research findings and over-used industry platitudes. When answering, the person on the Hotseat will be given the chance to lie, tell the truth, or pass. Of course, all the questions won't be industry-related and may delve into areas designed to help attendees better understand themselves and those people with whom they work day in and day out, year after year, The game is intended to help dispel pre-conceived notions, game faces and long-held misconceptions. If this sounds a little "come to Jesus/Allah/Buddha/Abraham/Confucius," perhaps it is. But the hope is to build community, open lines of communication, eliminate fluff, reduce puffery, cut through outlandish claims, get the heart of the industry's focus and inspire growth.