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Current TV’s Al Gore Helps Take the Wraps Off

By Published on .

LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos. last night took the wraps off a new hi-tech showroom for marketers to experiment with the latest in digital technology.
Interpublic Chairman-CEO Michael Roth (left) and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
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Former U.S. vice president and aspiring media mogul Al Gore helped Interpublic Chairman-CEO Michael Roth and a who’s who of media bigs and marketers cut the ribbon on the Emerging Media Lab -- a digital home of the future, complete with a plasma TV, a Microsoft Media Center PC and a Samsung refrigerator that lets you check your e-mail.

Figuring out the technology
The idea is to help agencies and marketers figure out how to incorporate the proliferation of gadgets that change the way content is distributed and consumed into their strategies and executions. “I just came back from [the World Economic Forum at] Davos,” Mr. Roth said. “All they did was talk about digital media.”

Mr. Gore, now chairman of Current TV, put the rise of digital media in historical terms. “We easily overlook the role of media in the destiny we choose as a nation,” he said. “The kind of experimenting that will be explored and designed here will be absolutely crucial.”

The lab, located at the Interpublic offices on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, is run by Greg Johnson, also exec VP-global director of innovations for MRM Worldwide. A second one is being developed in New York. Both will be part of the IPG Media group, a new corporate structure run by Mark Rosenthal (who didn’t attend the event because a recent surgery is limiting his travel.)

Mr. Rosenthal’s role in introducing the lab was filled by one of his first important appointments, Universal McCann CEO Nick Brien.

Among the VIPs on hand: Sony Corp. CMO Andrew House; Magna Global chief Bill Cella; Draft CEO Howard Draft; Mark Burnett Productions’ Conrad Riggs; Endeavor’s Mark Dowley; Home Depot’s Roger Adams; HuffingtonPost.com’s Arianna Huffington; MRM Worldwide’s Ruben Hendell; Initiative CEO Alec Gerster; and new Interpublic Media Chief Financial Officer Terri Santisi.

Also in attendance in one of her first public appearances in a new IPG Media role was Mary Gerzema, recently promoted by Mr. Brien to president of Universal McCann's U.S. region from exec VP-communications planning director. Ms. Gerzema joined the media agency, part of the Interpublic, in 2003. Before that, she was media director at Publicis Groupe’s Fallon, New York.

Filling roles at Universal MacCann
Filling that vacant role is another important step for Mr. Brien as he seeks to help the agency recover from a long stretch of client losses and talent defection.

Last week, he named Carat Deepblue head Wayne Fletcher as global head of communications planning, a new position, as well as naming former ITV sales executive Graham Duff as president of Europe, Middle East and Africa

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