Advertising Week Execs: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Organizers Claim This Year's Festival Will be Fabulous

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The fourth iteration of Advertising Week will take place in New York Sept. 24 through 28, and the organizers want you to know the event keeps getting better.
Panic at the Disco
Panic at the Disco Credit: Karl Walter

"The first critical message is that we've listened and that we've learned an awful lot," said Matt Scheckner, executive director, Advertising Week 2007. "Each year it's grown. In '04 it was a curiosity. In '05 it worked better. In '06 it took a significant leap forward. In '07 the leap will be even more significant and will make the prior years look like we were warming up in the bullpen."

This year's confab will attempt to keep all the elements closely tied to a sense of social responsibility, particularly when it comes to the industry's own future. Aside from reprising the Ad Forum's global cause-related exhibition that made its debut in Cannes this year and honoring Product Red founder Bobby Shriver at the kickoff luncheon, case studies discussed throughout the week will include the Save Darfur campaign and General Electric Co.'s Ecomagination work.

"This is about the future," said Advertising Week board member Julie Thompson, "not only in terms of talent and attracting talent, but also the marketing landscape and where it is headed." To that point, Mr. Scheckner said the plan is to have opinion leaders who make their livings outside of ad agencies offer perspectives on the broader arena of popular culture.

Lots of CMOs
Mr. Scheckner promised this year's week will be "chock-a-block with CMOs." Between CMO panels sponsored by Nasdaq and the American Marketing Association, American Express' John Hayes keynoting the Interactive Advertising Bureau's MIXX event and a CMO panel discussing "Brand America," Mr. Scheckner said, "we will have easily two dozen CMOs from Fortune 100 companies."

Combined with fewer panels overall and more one-on-one "fireside" chats, the Advertising Week board hopes the CMOs will help keep conversation flowing.

In addition to the usual Advertising Futures program, which pairs New York City high-school students with area agencies for a project, Microsoft will launch an advertising-industry-specific software program during Advertising Week geared toward helping young professionals and curious youth with mentors.

Under the Generation Next college-fund program, bands Panic at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes are headlining the opening night's AOL Amp'd Up at Nokia Theatre. Replacing the Battle of the Ad Bands is a Wednesday night event at B.B. King's Blues Club. Details aren't finalized, but the evening was conceptualized by Crispin Porter & Bogusky and a to-be-named music label. The closing-night event, which also contributes to the fund, is being run by first-year sponsor Univision and is certain to have a Latin theme.

The schedule was produced by members of the Advertising Week Organizing Committee including: the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Advertising Research Foundation, Advertising Women of New York, Ad Club, Magazine Publisher's Association, Radio Advertising Bureau, Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau and the IAB.

Walking distance
Those who were among the 40,000 registered delegates last year take note: You will spend less on taxis this year. All the official Advertising Week events will be centralized between the Paley Center for Media (formerly known as the Museum of Television & Radio), the Time Life Building a few blocks away and Tribeca Cinemas downtown.

"This is a place you can come to where the best and brightest gather once a year," Mr. Scheckner said. "You can tap the vein of the most important issues and the smartest people. Along the way, we are entertaining, we are engaging, we're educating and we're enlightening -- all to bring that next generation forward."

Registration opens today; a guide to the events will be included in Advertising Age's Sept. 10 issue.
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