A Bigger, More Ambitious Advertising Week Is Set to Begin (NYT)

/// A Bigger, More Ambitious Advertising Week Is Set to Begin (NYT)

October 3, 2011  |  Blog

MADISON AVENUE claims that the annual Advertising Week in New York is like New York Fashion Week for smart people. The fashionable set counters that Advertising Week is like Fashion Week for ugly people.

As the eighth annual Advertising Week starts, it seems the organizers are smart in at least one way: They have significantly beefed up the agenda for the event — which begins on Monday and continues through Friday — with a lineup of compelling subjects and marquee-name speakers.

“It has grown in its importance,” said one speaker, Carolyn Everson, vice president for global marketing solutions at Facebook. She is to deliver an address on Monday, about “The Power of Connections” that are made through social media, at the Mixx Conference and Expo sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

She intends to discuss, she said, how “if you embrace driving the value of social through your marketing organization, it can really deliver results,” using as case studies Facebook’s work with advertisers like American Express, Nike and Procter & Gamble.

Also, Advertising Week “is becoming more global,” Ms. Everson said, offering as an example her “hosting over 25 clients from Brazil at our party on Tuesday.”

Facebook will also hold during Advertising Week the initial meeting of its new Client Council, she added. The council is composed of marketers like Coca-Cola, General Motors and Procter along with agencies like BBDO Worldwide and the McCann Worldgroup.

The Advertising Week organizers have also wooed more associations into scheduling big events during Advertising Week 2011 than in previous years, joining annual gatherings like the Mixx conference.

For instance, a leading national magazine conference that in recent years has been held in Chicago, Phoenix and Boca Raton, Fla., will take place for the first time during an Advertising Week. It is the 2011 American Magazine Conference, being presented on Tuesday and Wednesday by MPA — the Association of Magazine Media and the American Society of Magazine Editors.

There will even be posters in more than 40 Duane Reade drugstores in Midtown Manhattan — near the conference site of the Grand Hyatt hotel — that proclaim, “Welcome to the magazine capital of the world.”

The agenda for Advertising Week 2011 “is very ambitious,” said Matt Scheckner, who has been the executive director since the initial Advertising Week in 2004. He predicted that the number of participants would be “a little north” of last year, when about 70,000 people attended.

Another aspect of this Advertising Week that is intended to increase its appeal is the scheduling of presentations that, the organizers hope, will make news rather than plow familiar ground.

One such panel, titled the “Advertising Week Financial Forecast,” is planned for Monday, with participants that include ZenithOptimedia, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Google. Executives of ZenithOptimedia, part of the Publicis Groupe, said last week that during the panel they would update their most recent predictions for advertising spending, both in the United States and globally. Usually, the fall updates of the ZenithOptimedia quarterly forecasts are made through news releases.

Another element of Advertising Week meant to raise its profile is the inclusion of sessions devoted to a problem that has long vexed the industry: increasing the diversity of its work force.

For example, there will be a daylong event on Tuesday with the bold title “Where Are All the Black People?” Attendees will be able to talk to agency recruiters and have their portfolios reviewed by creative professionals.

And on Friday, about 100 students from 14 colleges and universities around the country will attend the first Multicultural Media Talent Pipeline, a six-hour forum sponsored by an agency called Forty-Two Degrees at MediaVest/MediaVest Multicultural, part of the Starcom MediaVest Group division of Publicis.

“I have all these open positions currently, and unless I poach from another agency, it’s hard to find qualified professionals” who are black or Hispanic, said Steven Wolfe Pereira, executive vice president and managing director at MV42°, as the agency is informally known.

“A third of the country is multicultural, and I can’t find the people?” he asked rhetorically, adding: “It’s not just diversity, warm and fuzzy. The clients are clamoring for it. It’s a crisis that we don’t have enough multicultural talent.”

As an incentive for students to attend the forum, Mr. Wolfe Pereira said, one of the sponsors, InteractiveOne, a network of Web sites aimed at African-Americans, “is offering two paid summer internships for summer 2012 for two of the participants.”

If all that fails, the organizers hope that some star power will help lift Advertising Week above the realm of the same-old, same-old. Among the familiar faces scheduled to appear are Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams of NBC News; Bernie Williams, the former New York Yankees outfielder; and performers like Steve Harvey, Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, J. B. Smoove (a k a Jerry Brooks) and Justin Timberlake.

Some comparisons between Advertising Week and Fashion Week are made in jest. However, Mr. Scheckner described a feature of the latter that the organizers of the former covet: having all the week’s events at a single site, like Bryant Park or Lincoln Center.

The panels, programs and parties during Advertising Week, by contrast, are divided among multiple locations.

“I think what you’re going to see in 2013,” Mr. Scheckner said, is Advertising Week’s consolidation at a sole location.

Original Article

By Stuart Elliott


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