In keeping with its out of the box reputation, the Advertising Planning Group has chosen Vegas in the dead of summer for its annual media planning conference that starts today. Last year it was Miami in the dead of summer. The ocean in Miami was hotter than the air temperature. Attendees last year remained cooped up in climate-controlled conference rooms, which may have been the intention. The APG Web site says temperatures will be in the upper 90s on the Strip. From experience, Vegas temperatures should be in the upper 110s and 120s.
The usual suspects will attend, such as Robert Poynton and Gary Hirsch, co-founders of On Your Feet, a consultancy that promotes method acting in the planning profession. On Your Feet staff attended last year and spent much time by the hotel pool, directing ad planners who were impersonating burgers and fries while other bewildered hotel guests looked on.
This year's conference theme will be "how communication works." The speaker list includes Lee Clow, normally uncommunicative, who will speak about "How great communication campaigns work-it all starts with human beings." (Very well put.) Also slated: Paul Begala, ex-counselor to Bill Clinton, will discuss, of all things, communication and politics. Oliver Stone, who is quickly becoming a fixture at these events, will talk about himself, most likely. But his official topic is communication and film. The most exciting speaker surely will be Candace Bushnell, the dishy creator of "Sex and the City." Her topic: "How communication works in writing." Does she really need to explain this to anyone?
Adages will be in Vegas this week, happy to be there yet somewhat disheartened. Nudes On Ice, a perennial cabaret favorite, is no longer playing on Glitter Gulch. Ms. Bushnell, unfortunately, will be no substitute for that class act.
Robin Weeks bolted D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., after only one year. In a first-person piece in London's Sunday Telegraph Weeks explains why, detailing what he dubs "a bizarre working experience ... (albeit a compensation) package worth half a million dollars a year." Headlined "The joke that ruined me," Weeks writes that he was dismissed from his job for sexual harassment and pokes fun at America's strict laws and penchant to sue.
Weeks confesses that he told a pregnant female art director about to go on leave "that she follow my example and send her son to an orphanage. A baby is bound to sap your creativity, I joked." He was soon told by his bosses that his contract would be terminated. The next faux pas occurred while Weeks was having drinks with co-workers at a friend's house. He complimented a 25-year-old account director's haircut by saying "you look very f--able." Weeks was dumbfounded by the fallout. "It didn't cross my mind that I had said anything offensive or outrageous. In British advertising agencies, such exchanges are commonplace." Two days later she threatened to sue him and D'Arcy. "Rather than face even the possibility of a suit, the agency summarily fired me," Weeks wrote. He is said to be freelancing at Grey, London. His wife remains in suburban Detroit. Responding to Weeks' comments, D'Arcy Director of Communications Patrick McCarthy sniped: "So much culture. So little class."
Contributing: Jean Halliday
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