As ad:tech Chicago wound down, exhibitors disassembled booths faster than a prima dona diva account director whisks in and out of a status meeting. While there were 2,500 attendees at this year's Chicago event, up from 2,000 in 2004, the exhibit hall never seemed crowded. Perhaps, we have dmg world media conference planners to thank for perfect crowd flow control.
In the end, the hotel bars, hallways and lobby were full of people making deals, swapping contact info and planning their next product or campaign launch. Chicago might be over but before we know it, we'll be in New York in November for the next ad:tech extravaganza.
Yesterday, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) held their first Metrics conference, called "Measuring Word of Mouth," at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago. The conference, which sold out in 20 days mostly due to word of mouth and followed the organization's founding conference several month ago, focused on the the measurement aspects of word of mouth marketing including the introduction of metrics terminology.
The genesis of the conference was the organizations acknowledgment that everyone in the industry was talking about word of mouth but had no common terminology. The groups three goals for the conference were to develop a common language of word of mouth related terms and definitions, figure out how to measure and track word of mouth and learn how to integrate word of mouth with other forms of marketing media. In developing these goals, WOMMA CEO Andy Sernovitz the measurement framework must "avoid pre-existing marketing terms, avoid bias towards online media and avoid bias towards active word of mouth campaigns versus organic, day-to-day word of mouth."
The Chicago ad:tech party scene Monday night was much more subdued than San Francisco and New York shows. The evening kicked off with the traditional Tribal Fusion post-exhibit cocktail and munchies party held at the back of the the Sheraton exhibit hall. Great tasting Tribal Fusion branded beer was served along with fried finger food. We spent some time speaking with United Virtualities' Director of Channel Partnerships Natalia Scalia who made the trip to ad:tech from Argentina and Miami-based Nearly Natural Business Development Manager Stephen Wechsler who, apparently, has had to make it habit, when handing out his business card, to clarify his company deals with flowers, not breast implants. After discussions regarding ooqa ooqa, shoshkeles and silk flowers, we headed upstairs to the ad:tech speakers reception held in one of the hotel's bars.
At the speakers reception, we spent some time chatting with ad:tech Chair Susan Bratton, BlogAds Founder Henry Copeland, ad:tech Director of Marketing and Conferences Cindi Gallucci, DoubleClick Director of Research Rick Bruner and TechVenue.com Founder David Flint. The company was great, the river view pleasing and the libations relaxing.
After the speaker party, we headed to dinner with comScore Marketing Solutions Manager Graham Mudd and Rick Bruner. The name of the restaurant escapes the mind right now but the food was excellent. (It was Shaw's Restaurant) We discussed some weblog related research the two are working on which will be released in the hear future.
Finishing dinner, our group walked around the corner to the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association party held at the Rock Bottom Brewery which turned out the be the night's biggest party. We ran into United Virtualities' Scalia again who seemed to have attracted the attention of a guy dressed Hawaiian style. We left that one alone. Held on the rooftop, it was crowded, hot and humid but amusing enough to stick around for a bit if only to observe the length grown men and women will go to gain entry into what they, apparently, perceived to be the hippest spot in town.
Slithering out from between sweaty bodies, we cabbed it over to Chicago's First Lady, a river boat docked at Michigan and Wacker for the Tribal Fusion party. Sadly, there weren't too many people there so our stay was brief. Compared to the New York and San Francisco Bluelithium blowouts, Monday night's events were, for sure, quite subdued in comparison.
UPDATE: According Sean in comments, we didn't stay long enough at the Tribal Fusion party to experience the unplanned, two hour cruise the boat took late at night.
Close to Mid-Chest
On the gaspedal weblog
, there's a few tips for ad:tech conference attendees to take to heart to improve the conference going experience. While the obvious tips like show your badge to how to meet people to travel tips are there, some less obvious but more helpful tips are listed as well. While we might not agree with this one because it takes the fun out of crowded exhibit hall floors, gaspedal suggests booth babes are for idiots calling the practice one which would appeal to 14 year old morons living in the un-PC 70's. Other gems include the "boob alert" which states a mid-chest placed conference name tag on a woman isn't an invitation for a full body visual exam and the "rude alert" which claims answering a cell phone in the middle of a conversation is very bad form.
Preconceived notions the session entitled "Kick Ass Creative" would be drenched in self-congratulatory praise for pet creative work and new age strategies were clearly confirmed. The session, led by Ad Age Publishing VP and Editorial Director David Klein, included panelists Carat Interactive EVP Creative Director Mike Yapp, Agency.com Creative Director Dorian Sweet, Avenue A/Razorfish ECD Brooke Nanberg and Organic Inc. ECD Colleen DeCourcy.
Either, sadly, there's not much in the way of social events going on Monday night at ad:tech Chicago 2005 or we just haven't been informed of all events. We do know Tribal Fusion is hosting an invite-only networking event from 8P to midnight aboard Chicago's First Lady. The boat is docked near Michigan Avenue at Wacker Drive. The Chicago Interactive Marketing Association, along with Leapfrog Online, is hosting a party at the Rock Bottom Brewery Gold Room and Rooftop (One West Grand) from 6:30P to 1:30A. The first 300 guests will get open bar and a free buffet.
UPDATE: Commission Junction is hosting an early party at Sushi Samba's Rooftop Lounge at 504 North Wells Street beginning at 6PM. Open bar until 7:30P but it's invite only so stop by their booth for an invite. Be nice. They can't invite everyone.
Each conference requires the ubiquitous booth babe coverage if only to reinforce the notion that ad:tech is about advertising and, in advertising, it's well known sex does sell. As before, SEO Inc. hired several beautiful women to attract attendees to its booth so its search engine optimization services could be described. From the throngs of people swarming the booth, the strategy, once again, has paid off.
Per usual on the eve before the first day of an ad:tech conference, the exhibit hall looked like King Kong's playground with large crates strewn about the floor, booths half built and trade show staff furiously working to put the puzzle together before the throngs of attendees swarm the floor the next morning. Without fail, the hall will look pristine by the time the doors open and attendees make a mad dash for free pens and other assorted tschotchkes. Admire King Kong's playground here.
Alongside the Chicago River and under beautifully sunny skies Sunday afternoon, dmg worldwide media unveiled its new look for its ad:tech shows to an audience of exhibitors and show officials. The new look will consist of the lower-case effect which will be implemented across all signage and the conference's website (launching Monday morning). Also announced was ad:tech connect, a networking resource providing attendees the ability to browse for product profiles, conference sessions, companies speakers and fellow attendees. ad:tech connect will also function as a networking resource where attendees can create profiles, search other attendee's profiles, send and receive messages and meet executives from other companies in the industry.
Additional images here.
Computer and video game conference and event planner, The Game Initiative, has announced the Advertising In Games West forum at 600 Toensend in San Francisco July 28, 2005. Advertising in Games Forums bring together advertisers, publishers and game makers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of ads in games.
Speakers include industry leaders from both the game industry and the advertising business, including: Microsoft, Ogilvy Interactive, Double Fusion, Wild tangent, Massive Incorporated, Nielsen Interactive Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Yankee Group, BlockDot, InGame partners, Skyworks Technologies, Arnell Group and others. Visit the conference website for more information.