I think I was in high school when, perched on a stall and unable to leave because my teachers were sinkside discussing how hot my dad was, I realized bathrooms are considered a sanctioned space. Their walls are keepers of myriad secrets.
Since then I pay close attention to what's happening around me when I visit a loo to relieve myself. You'd be surprised what you discover. When people walk into a bathroom together, their voices actually get louder, daring the porcelain gods to reveal their covert conversations. And they talk about everything - power players, whose company will sink or swim, and why Monsieur CEO really left the agency.
Well, here's some news. Contrary to popular convention, the stalls have ears. And if you've just nailed an awesome lead worth hundreds of thousands of dollars by sleeping with the CFO you met at Mighty last night, you probably shouldn't be standing at the sinks with your hotpants-sporting amigas parsing out the gritty (but triumphant!) details.
Lesson 1 learned at ad:tech: The stalls have ears.
I (Angela) was really looking forward to attending ad:tech San Francisco 2007 panel entitled "The Online Female Consumer - Come Meet Them" Tuesday afternoon, featuring CEO Kate Everett-Thorp of Real Girls Media as moderator and Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson of eMarketer. Additional panelists were women pulled from various walks of life (well, except not), the youngest being thirty and the oldest in their mid-forties, with children of varying ages.
First impression: oh, we'll be hearing from Fembots. Kate and Debra seemed tight and mildly Stepford in appearance. I don't know what it was but the room took on a defensive and unfun Girl Power air that had nothing to do with trouncing around in platforms and going ziga-zig ahhh.
There are two kinds of keynotes at industry trade conferences. There's the kind that keep you on the edge of your seat eager to drink in the wisdom of those on stage. Then, there's the kind that are...well, shall we say...less than awe inspiring. Unfortunately, the ad:tech San Francisco 2007 kick off keynote was one of the latter. Reminiscent of an old video interview between a major network and the founders of Razorfish, during which a frustrated reporter could not get a straight forward description of what the company did, today's keynote with aQuantive (now owner of avenue a/ razorfish) CEO Brian McAndrews as interviewed by Fast Company Senior Editor Lynne Johnson took a bit longer than other keynotes to deliver the meat.
There's absolutely no disparagement of the expertise that sat on stage today as the two discussed The digital Decade - What the Past Five Years Can Teach Us About the Next 5" but it took an interminably long time to get to the keynote's deliverable nuggets. One such nugget was McAndrews suggestion to agencies that social media be approached somewhat like a "big focus group" and that marketers would be best served by paying attention to what gets written on blogs, in forums and on social networks. With the rise of consumer control over media, marketing is clearly a two way street - far from the one way megaphone approach of yesteryear.
Tuesday night's activities at ad:tech San Francisco were subdued, enjoyable and ended oddly. Once the session rooms cleared and everyone began discussing where they'd eat dinner and what they'd be doing before they went to bed, we pulled out our trusty party schedule and headed over to the W Hotel's XYZ Lounge for the Boca Networks Party With A Star Party. Snooze. Though there was one bit of small amusement. apparently, there must have been a CIA agent there because when we lifted the camera to take a random crowd shot said agent turned her head away from the camera faster than an ad:tech booth babe gets accosted by drooling conference attendees. The look we received post flash was piercingly less than happy. Oh well. No visual fame for this CIA agent.
On Wednesday night, the second night of the ad:tech San Francisco 2007 conference, the party schedule was packed. I'll tell you right now, we didn't make it to all the events but we'll give you a taste of the ones we did. After weighing in on the best exhibit hall schwag, Angela and I found ourselves at the ad:tech Awards Show, an event held in one of the very large Moscone North rooms near the exhibit hall. The event was well attended with open bar for three hours, cozy couches on which to site and a healthy supply of food. We particularly liked the mini burgers - perfect chow after hours of exhibit hall shenanigans.
Cirque du Soliel was the centerpiece of the event with two spectacular performances surrounding the presentation of the actual awards by ad:tech Chair Emeritus Susan Bratton, eMarketer Co-Founder and CEO Geoff Ramsey introduced by ad:tech VP Don Knox. Following the first performance of Cirque du Soliel, which the audience loved, Knox took the stage and suffered dead mic syndrome for a minute or two. Making light of the situation, Knox called out to the techies in the background who, for some reason, couldn't find the "on" switch for Knox's mic. No matter, Knox exuberantly mastered the stage as he reviewed ad:tech's recent accomplishments and activities and then turned the stage over to Bratton and Ramsey.
Now here's where we have suggestions for future ad:tech Awards events. The presentation - more a collection of quickly-paced announcements - flew by which, perhaps, had to be the case due to time constraints. Angela and I, having seen many other ad-related awards presentations, would suggest the finalist's creative, rather than just the campaign name and agency, be shown. Some creative was, indeed, shown but not for all categories. Secondly, and we're well aware this would lengthen the show tremendously and perhaps too much so for the purposes of the event, we'd suggest the winners of each category take the stage as they do at many other creative award shows so as to bask in the glory of their accomplishment and receive the adoration of their industry peers. After all, everyone in advertising needs their ego stroked from time to time.
On April 25th, the second day of the ad:tech Conference in San Francisco at 9:00 AM, demonstrators from the No More Landing Pages revolution will be gathered in front of the Moscone Center to protest the senseless creation of generic, dead-end landing pages. We are so down with that!
- TBWA\Chiat\Day took the Art Directors Club Gold Cube medal for Advertising and R/GA took the honor for Interactive Media. All the finalists can be viewed here. (PDF)
- I'm a gay man trapped in the body of a fembot.
- Bag seller LeSportsac has hung a "zipper board" on Lafayette near Bong in New York.
- The New York Festivals Interactive Media Advertising Awards show will take place April 27th at the Daryl Roth Theatre.
- AdOfDaMonth has launched and promises to nominate one each each month as the best in the word as determined by a jury of ten creatives.
If you're heading to ad:tech in San Francisco next week and need an easy guide around town to find all the parties, check out our customized ad:tech Party Map with all the party locations and details, You can also check our ad:tech Party Schedule which lists the dates, times and all relevant details regarding the parties as well. Be sure to check out the recent editions and plan your evening accordingly.
Last Wednesday, we put a call out to the readers of Adrants who were interested in winning a free pass to the upcoming Future of Online Advertising Conference to be held June 7-8 at New York's Gotham Hall. Well, a week has passed and after tremendous interest, we're ready to announce the winners of the five free passes.
And, the winners are: Healthy Web Design's Dawud Miracle, iwebinvester.com's Darryl Newton, Intercept Interactive's Josh Kaner, Sullivan Higdon & Sink's Seth Gunderson and Burns Marketing Communication's Patrick Hunt. We will contact each of the winners individually to award them their free passes and we thank the organizers of the Future of Online Advertising conference for offering us the passes to give away to our readers. We hope to see you all at the conference.
Last September the famed (in New England, at least) Hood blimp crash landed in the appropriately named Massachusetts town Manchester-by-the-sea. After the crash the dairy company placed an ad thanking the residents of the town for their patience and cooperation during the blimp's clean up. Either out of sentiment or true adoration, the ad, created by VIA, was handed The International Dairy Foods Association's "Best Overall" award in the print ad category at the organization's Smart Marketing 2007 conference held last month in Las Vegas. Did that blimp really crash or was that planned all along? OK. Just kidding.
VIA also won a Best Radio Ad for their Hood holiday eggnog spots and a Best Public Relations Campaign award or its press conference with Boston Red Sox star Coco Crisp as well as an award in the "Best Promotion" category for their Sox Tops for Kids program.