Rishad Tobaccowala Talks Brand-Building, Damage Control and the Art of Seduction


At ad:tech Chicago last week, and prior to his opening talk, I approached Denuo CEO Rishad Tobaccowala in hopes of scoring an interview later on. He was in a hurry and answered in a way I found brusque and upsetting -- which ended up colouring my feelings about the keynote.

Tobaccowala emailed to apologize immediately after reading the article I wrote, and was also good enough to give me almost three hours of his time in an interview -- more of a conversation, really -- later that week.

We never did get around to a formal Q/A. But I learned so much about branding and relationships from him that most of the gems would be lost if I didn't whip out the cam and start recording.

See the footage below the drop.

more »

by Angela Natividad    Sep-11-09    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Events, Good, Industry Events

Advertising Week's Battle of the Ad Bands to Deliver More 'More F'ing Cowbell'


If you'll be in New York for Advertising Week September 21 - 25, you absolutely positively have to go to the YouTube Battle of the Ad Bands. Along with YouTube, it's presented by Electronic Arts, the Association of Music Producers and Sonny/ATV Music Publishinbg. Last year, it so totally rocked! There were some amazing performances.

McCann Erikson's More Fucking Cowbell (who will compete again this year) won the competition last year. In full 80's heavy metal, big hair regalia, along with two female dancers, the band absolutely owned the crowd and the judges. Who will win this year? You'll just have to go to find out.

Click More below for a full list of this year's competing brands.

more »

by Steve Hall    Sep-10-09    
Topic: Industry Events

ad:tech Chicago: Sharpie, Ben & Jerry's Squeeze Merit Out of Social Media Sphinx


My last ad:tech Chicago session was the Social Media Industry Forum, presented by Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer.

The sesh had a festive air for many reasons, not least that it was Ramsey's birthday. ad:tech's Warren Pickett burst in near the end to furnish him with candle-lit cupcakes.

But the company was also lively: we had a frothy, sometimes cynical and perennially candid band that included Digital Marketing Manager Katie O'Brien of Ben & Jerry's, President Rick Murray of Edelman Digital (which does interactive stuff for B&J's), PR/Social Media Manager Susan Wassel of Sanford Brands (here to rep Sharpie), and Digital Strategist Akash Pathak of DraftFCB, which worked with Wassel to bring life to Sharpie's label.

more »

Need A Vegas Fix? Go to Blogworld in October


Please pardon this commercial interruption (unpaid and offered because we're nice and we're going to be there anyway):

From October 15-17, Blogworld & New Media Expo will hit Las Vegas. The event will cover blogging, podcasting, social media,online video, music, TV, radio, gaming, entertainment and communities.There will be more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes not to mention two days worth of exhibit hall fun.

Check out the conference website here. If you decided to attend, use the promo code ADRANTSBW. It'll score you an additional 20% off the rates. Do this before the expiration of early bird discounts on 9/14 and the savings will be bigger and better.

I wouldn't be pimping this if I didn't think it was a great conference. It is and I'm going. And besides, it's Vegas and who doesn't want a little Vegas in their life once in a while?

See you there.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 8-09    
Topic: Industry Events

ad:tech Chicago: Weighing Hearts and Brands on Ancient Scales


ad:tech Chicago's "Love for Sale -- How Great Creative Seduces Its Target" session was broken into two discernably useful parts: statistics on online dating, and seduction as a metaphor for marketing.

We'll begin at the beginning.

The Online Dating Crowd

Accompanied by Liz Ross of Digitas US, Fusion Idea Lab's Matt Brennock regaled us with both statistics and close-to-home anecdotes -- the kind that's fueled many a romantic comedy.

I heard one guy say the pair had great chemistry, and he commended them for "[opening] the kimono" the way they did. Given the topic matter, and Brennock's zeal for reminding us (first once, then twice, then...) that men really do just wanna get laid, the geisha metaphor was oddly appropriate.

Some stats:

  • The average online dater is 42 years old.

  • Match.com remains tops, with 3.4 million uniques/month, but people increasingly drift away from these big-box dating sites and into more niche fare: j-date, veggiedate, Christian singles. (AdAge blogger Kelly Eidson seized this opportunity to send me a link to STD Match, a dating site targeted to people living with sexually transmitted diseases. There are also -- as if you didn't know -- ethnicity-specific sites.)

    If the world wasn't our oyster before, the marvelous advances of the internet, coupled with mankind's enterprising creative spirit, have ensured it certainly is now. There's a match worth blogging.

  • more »

ad:tech Chicago Attendees Politely Converse at CIMA Enclave Party


Last night CIMA and Tatto Media sponsored a party at the Enclave nightclub in Chicago after the first day of ad:tech. The place filled up quickly. The party, which is perhaps a Chicago thing, never ended up like San Francisco or New York ad:tech parties where loud music and drunken dancing prevail. Rather, during most of the party, everyone just stood around and conversed. How amazingly refined!

That, of course didn't preclude some of us from consuming one too many martinis causing this particular article to be written, shall we say, a bit later than intended. But it's all good. The party was fun. It was great to catch up with Chicago friends and traveling conference buddies.

And the photographic evidence is here.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 2-09    
Topic: Industry Events

ad:tech Chicago: Hard Knocks in Social, Starring Rishad Tobaccowala


I admit it: I was eavesdropping.

Me and a crew of other bloggers invaded the press room early today. We were setting up our things, chatting about nothing, when I overheard something really interesting.

I looked up just as the guy was finishing his surmise: "In the future," he was saying, "I think people are going to wonder what the need was for keyboards. Or why we needed dial-up to access the internet. It will be free, and everywhere, like air."

This struck me as simple but inspired. I put my glasses on, checked out his tag: Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO, Denuo. It hits me: Hey! This is the guy who's doing the first keynote!

So I sit and futz with my thumbs for awhile, and finally I get up and walk over.

more »

by Angela Natividad    Sep- 1-09    
Topic: Creative Commentary, Events, Industry Events

ad:tech Chicago Delivers Usual Eye Candy


The Chicago ad:tech conference is always much smaller than the coastal behemoths New York and San Francisco but the "windy" city (which, by the way didn't get it's name from the wind , rather the "windy" politicians) has its charms. The river. Navy Pier. Lake Michigan. And a conference setting that's manageable.

As always, the exhibit hall is where a lot of the action is. Where the conversation occurs. Where old acquaintances are rekindled. Where you can hear your share of elevator pitches. And where booth babes pimp products. Hey, it's an ad conference. These things happen.

Check out the pictures here.

by Steve Hall    Sep- 1-09    
Topic: Industry Events

Get Your Party Pants On; ad:tech Chicago's Just Hours Away


For those of you that value conferences for the "networking," ad:tech Chicago's opening night party kicks off at 8PM on Tuesday.

It happens at Enclave, which you probably remember from last year. From 8-10 there'll be open bar and hors d'oeuvres -- usually tasty but scarce; I stand by the kitchen entry for just this reason. From 10-11, it's a cash bar, which is your cue to exit stage left and go find a good jazz club anyway. That's what Chicago's really about,* and boy will that SEO guru think you're cultured!

Good news: sporting your ad:tech badge grants you free entry. Register before September 1 for a free expo hall pass. And if you want to know where Enclave is, it's at 220 W. Chicago Ave -- right between N. Franklin and N. Wells.

See you by the kitchen.

more »

by Angela Natividad    Aug-31-09    
Topic: Industry Events

Case Studies And Advice Focus of ad:tech Chicago


On September 1, ad:tech will kick off its fifth annual show in Chicago. It will focus on helping companies build their brands in a digital world. The event will take place from September 1-2, 2009 at Chicago Navy Pier.

During the 2-day conference, ad:tech Chicago will focus on real-world case studies and offer workshops to help people put learnings into practice. Speakers and audiences will explore consumer acquisition and retention, branding best practices, offer tactical takeaways and help attendees get up to speed on emerging trends, platforms and technologies.

Search engine optimization expert Bruce Clay will present an SEO workshop that looks at best practices and optimization trends across current and emerging search media and technology platforms.

more »

by Steve Hall    Aug-14-09    
Topic: Industry Events