Adages: Is the fix in? Buyers and sellers meet clandestinely

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The Museum of Television & Radio Media Center recently hosted a summit of advertising and media bigwigs who discussed the topic "Reinventing Television Advertising." The event was not open to the public, the press was not allowed in and there was no audience of any kind. According to a museum spokeswoman, the four-hour long dialogue was just among 16 men. One outside observer wryly noted that the gathering-essentially a closed-door meeting between industry buyers and sellers-might invite the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission.

Adages tried to find out what transpired, but all the attendees kept mum. Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief of WPP Group, who moderated the museum chat, replied via e-mail: "Not for public consumption." Josh Bernoff, VP-media and entertainment at Forrester Research said, "No comment. I hope that there is something we can talk about at some point in the future." He also said the meeting would not be of interest to the FTC.

The museum spokeswoman said the confab was one of a new series of "private, off-the-record dialogues" hosted by the museum. "It was just for the benefit of the people in the room to share views, to speak candidly with others grappling with the issue, to give them the opportunity to talk with people that they normally do not get to sit around and talk with, from different vantage points," she explained.

The top-secret powwow included Glen Britt, chairman-CEO of Time Warner Cable; Bernhard Glock, manager- global media and communications at Procter & Gamble; Steven J. Heyer, president-chief operating officer of Coca-Cola Co.; Mel Karmazin, president-chief operating officer, Viacom; Dennis Swanson, exec VP of Viacom TV stations; Irwin Gotlieb, CEO of WPP Group's Group M; Alec Gerster, CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Worldwide; Gordon Crawford, senior VP-capital research and management, Capital Research and Management Co.; Chase Carey, president-CEO of Hughes Electronics; Richard Bilotti, managing director of Morgan Stanley; Jordan Levin, co-president of the WB TV network; Mike Shaw, president-sales marketing at ABC; Brad Simmons, VP-media at Unilever; and John Hendricks, chairman-CEO of Discovery Communications.

Thumbelina at the Sambadrome

Jens Olesen, regional chairman of McCann-Erickson Latin America, has a dream: to see Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen immortalized in a Brazilian samba school parade. Next year marks the 200th birthday of the famed author of "Thumbelina" and "The Little Mermaid," and the Danish government is giving away about $90 million to Andersen-related causes. Danish-born Jens is spending at least $1 million of the pot to fund Imperatriz Leopoldinense, a leading Rio samba school, to perform Hans Christian Andersen-influenced dances in the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval. A million bucks pays for 4,000 dancers in the school to rehearse for an entire year dressed up in expensive feathers. At least four McCann clients, and Danish beer maker Carlsberg will also sponsor the Ipanema version of Danish fairy tales.

Weather of Mass Destruction

Maybe that's what they really meant by WMDs. The Weather Channel premieres must-see TV on March 17 at 8 p.m.: "Battlefield Iraq: Combating the Weather," a special one hour episode of "Storm Stories." The show profiles "Grey Berets," an elite corps of fighting men who slip over enemy lines, not to engage the enemy, but rather to nail the weather forecast. These marauding meteorologists check out weather conditions in advance of a battle. They apparently predicted the crippling sandstorm that bogged down our troops outside Baghdad. The weather warriors, like Al Roker, have a goofy sense of humor. They dubbed the sandblast: "the mother of all fronts."

Contributing: that girl in Rio, Claudia Penteado Always on the record at rlinnett@crain.com

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