Ad Week Runs the Gamut From Causes to Cows

Social-Awareness Slate Pulls Record Attendance, According to Organizers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Attendance leaped nearly 50% for the fourth annual Advertising Week in New York as 60,000 creative and media professionals, according to organizers, descended on some 200 events spanning the city from Central Park to Tribeca and the Jacob Javitz Convention Center.
Fave icons: Orville Redenbacher's grandson Gary, and cows accept awards from 4A's President O. Burtch Drake.
Fave icons: Orville Redenbacher's grandson Gary, and cows accept awards from 4A's President O. Burtch Drake.

This time around, content was heavily slanted toward social-cause marketing, with panel discussions exploring the marketing landscape as it relates to issues such as the environment, breast cancer and the genocide in Darfur.

Scattered in between were more lighthearted events such as a breakfast cook-off featuring cast members from Bravo's "Top Chef" on the set of "Saturday Night Live" and a panel discussion with the likes of the Maytag Repairman and Travelocity's Roaming Gnome.

Big turnout
Despite traffic congestion linked to world leaders' presence in New York to appear in front of the United Nations General Assembly, panels were generally well-attended, according to the conference's executive director, Matt Sheckner. He said the largest crowds (400 to 500 attendees) flocked to the "Digital Revolutionaries" and "Passionistas: The New Empowered Consumer" panels.

Some heavyweight industry names were infused throughout each day of the event, including Alex Bogusky, Andrew Robertson and Matt Freeman, to name a few, though there was criticism that there were relatively few heavy-hitters on the program.

Celebrity star power came in the form of Martha Stewart, Russell Simmons and Ludacris, Mira Sorvino and Chaka Khan not to mention various icons who made their presence known throughout the event. The Chick-Fil-A Cows and Orville Redenbacher were crowned the 2007 favorites, while the winning slogans were Southwest Airlines' "Ding ... you are now free to move about the country" and "The Few, the Proud, the Marines."

'Best week yet'
And despite an undercurrent that the program could have been a lot more relevant to an evolving industry, Advertising Week's organizers were pleased. "With the help of our sponsors, partnerships, panelists and staff, we pulled off our best week yet," said Ron Berger, chairman of the event and CEO of Euro RSCG New York, in a statement.

"This week was monumentally better than the three previous years," said Tom Carroll, vice chairman of Advertising Week's boards and president of TBWA Worldwide. "We will continue to evolve the content, and I think we'll get more people involved because I think it's really established itself as a valuable event for the industry."

Said Mr. Scheckner: "If I look back and if I could hit a rewind button and do it again differently, I can tell you unequivocally there is not a single thing I would change."

We'll see. Next year's conference is slated for Sept. 22-26.
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