So I just returned from a week-long, back to back conference trip where I re-connected with current friends and made lots of new ones. Personally, I love traveling to conferences. Sure, it puts a huge dent in daily productivity but what you glean from the experience, what you learn while you are there and the new connections you make with people far out weight staying home and going through yet another day of the same old thing no matter how much you love your job.
In Las Vegas at Blogworld, a conference which explores blogging and its role in just about everything, I was lucky enough to have wandered over to the conference a day early where there was a sort of pre-conference occurring. At the conference, Wine Library's Gary Vaynerchuk, who I'd seen once before in Boston, was giving a keynote about how, as a blogger, one can carve out a niche and work their way towards becoming the expert in that niche. It was very motivational talk, filled with Gary's trademark excitement. It was informative and gave me more than a few ideas I could put in motion to improve my own situation.
Wherever I was - at the conference, at the Techset party, at the Affiliate Summit dinner, at the Prive party, at Mirage's Revolution, in the exhibit hall, at a Planet Hollywood dinner, hanging by the Maker's Mark bus during the exhibit hall party or during the insane last night during which 23 of us just sort of moved from one place to another in the MGM Grand - I just kept seeing and meeting more and more people I knew or came to know.
So while Ad Week doesn't officially end until today, Friday, it felt like it ended Thursday. I didn't make it to the Facebook party but, instead, opted to have drinks and dinner with some friends. The first stop was Undercurrent marketing in SoHo where I met Julia Roy (who was just featured on Awesomeology) and Yianni Garcia.
Undercurrent is a young, small agency which specializes in online marketing and social media. We ended up somewhere in mid-town at a place which looked like it was right next to Wall Street. Everyone had a suit on and, if it were the eighties, could have been labeled Yuppies. Pictorial goodness here.
At the PricewaterhouseCoopers Auditorium during Advertising Week on Thursday at 2PM, Corbis hosted a panel entitled How Mega Celebs Are Boosting Mega Brands which explored how brands and celebrities are working together towards similar ends: boosting their visibility and connection with people.
On the panel were McCann Erickson EVP Chief Creative Officer Joyce King Thomas, Greenlight Director of Brand Strategy and Development Martin Cribbs, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Global Marketing Senior VP Robert Kaplan and Corbis Outline Publicist and Photographer Relations Megan Wiley. The panel was moderated by OK! Weekly Executive Website Editor Chris Morran.
Wednesday night during Advertising Week, Adobe held its Battle of the Bands even at the Nokia Theater in Times Square. It was well attended and there was some amazing talent on stage. Agencies participating were The Concept Farm, Eric Mower & Associates, Vidal Cendeno Advertising, Initiative, Grey, May & Co., Tribal DDB, Surge, Pyper Paul Kenney, TargetCast TCM, Starcom Chicago, Twon Sports International and McCann Erickson.
And while there was certainly talent on stage, it was the winning stage presence of McCann Erickson's More Fucking Cowbell that won over the judges and the crowd. Rocking out classic eighties heavy metal in full, big hair regalia, the group, along with two females dancers, just owned the crowd. There was no way they couldn't win. There would have been a riot of epic proportion. See pictures of the battle here.
Following the Battle of the Bands, I tagged along with the Barbarian Group to a little hip hop place in the Lower East Side for some drinking and dancing which lasted until 3AM. that agency knows how to party. One emplyee IM'd she had "85 hangovers" this morning. Sweet. All kinds of pictures here.
After the MIXX Conference and MIXX Awards, Adify hosted a party at Jay Z's 40/40 club which is a seriously cool place and rocked. Not just a bar, not just a club, the place has several theme rooms that are like large living rooms. One features a vertical chess board. Another is all about billiards. Another, called the ESPN room is, well, all about ESPN and sports. And another is for serious cigar smoker. It's one of the best venues I've seen for a party like this.
And can we talk about pillows and couches? The place is full of them; enough to furnish twenty house. Bottle service was afloat in one of the rooms. Avid pool sharks took over the pool tables. Tunes were spun and food was passed. Dear ad:tech exhibitors/sponsors: have one of your parties here.
I ran into Deep Focus VP of Publicity Christian Berges, Millward Brown VP of Strategic Services Doron Wesly, MoVoxx CEO Chief Mobilizer Alec Andronikov and the lovely gigya Advertising Sales Manager Jacqueline Gerber. For all the juicy, visual goodness, see the party photo album here.
On Monday and Tuesday during Advertising Week, the IAB held its MIXX Conference and Awards. All the usual suspects where there are the Crown Plaza in mid-town Manhattan for the event. Adify, Laredo Group, Star Media, Microsoft, VideoEgg, ValueClick and many others. Of particular note was VideoEgg's Lauren Rogers who dressed herself in a yellow chicken costume for the ntire two days of the show. Cuteness. (And yes, VideoEgg advertises on Adrants)
In one panel Heroes creator Tim Kring talked about how the web played (and still plays) a big role in the show bit only for promotional purposes but as an integral part of the show's plotline as well as a platform for new and separate plot lines. Kring acknowledges the internet has drastically changed how traditional television is consumed, how viewership ratings have been negatively affected and how new audience have found the show and are viewing without turning on the television set - which challenges Nielsen to no end.
So Blogworld. If you've ever wanted to hang out with 3,000 bloggers and talk about, well, blogging then Blogworld is the place to be. In its second year, Blogworld brings together everyone from Robert Scoble to, well, people you've never heard of in Las Vegas each year to pontificate about how blogs and all that blogs have spawned effect, well (again), everything.
In his keynote address Friday, Wine Library's Gary Vaynerchuk took a"just do it" approach to explaining what it takes to launch a successful business through the use of blogs and social media. Basically, his mantra was "become the expert" and "own the space." Identify every known blogger in your intended space, make contact with them, comment on their blog, comment on those who comment on your own blog, answer every single email, join Twitter and make contact with everyone related to what your business does.
If you're in New York for Advertising Week, be sure to catch the Mischief Party Monday night at the Hudson Hotel at 336 West 58th Street from 7PM - 11PM. Sponsored by Interference Inc, Fuel Industries, Oddcast, Desedo films and Adrants, the party will piggyback the GiantStep Monday's party.
So come and hang out, drink, shmooze, listen to the sounds of DJ Rekha and enjoy the amazing center terrace. You have to RSVP. Send an email to email@example.com.
- The Effie Awards has open its call for entries. The entity that "honors marketing communication ideas that work" asks that entries be submitted by October 15.
- TBWA has won the $600 million Visa global creative account. Bested were BBDO, Grey and Leo Burnett.
- Yes. Is is insane but there are still companies out there willing to drop $3 million on a single ad to appear on the Super Bowl.
- Here's the ad Barak Obama would run if presidential candidates didn't have to act all polished and buttoned up.
Just as the proverbial Mr. Smith went to Washington to clean things up, it seems top civil rights lawyer Mr. Cyrus Mehri is on his way to Madison Avenue to clean up the ad industry's diversity mess. A top civil rights lawyer, Mehri conducted a study of diversity in advertising agencies and found it woefully out of whack when compared to diversity in other business sectors.
While the study is still underway, it seems Mehri may already be setting his sights on an industry he says has only paid lip service to the issue with hearing, conferences and hiring efforts. He claims the problem isn't lack of interest in advertising among minorities as some have surmised, rather the seeming unwillingness of agency management which he sees as a closed country club filled with white men who just don't want to address the problem.