Notes From the Bar at the 4A's

Yahoo Goes Off-Campus, and Al Gore Goes Off on Global Warming

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Best fly-on-the-wall scenario: An off-campus dinner rendezvous among Yahoo and a rare gathering of media bigs on the eve of the search giant's announcement that it's pulling back from original content. On hand from Yahoo: Chief Operating Officer Dan Rosensweig and Chief Sales Officer Wenda Harris Millard. The agency reps: Mark Goldstein, Joe Uva, Laura Desmond, Jon Mandel, Irwin Gotlieb and Steve Grubbs.

Comeback player of the conference: GRP. The Advertising Research Federation, er, tweaked its plans to replace rating points, announced in July at a big press event, with the more behaviorally focused concept of engagement. "I made a mistake by throwing up a chart and saying that new metric should be engagement," said ARF Chief Research Officer and slightly Yoda-ish Joe Plummer in a delightfully geeky session. Concluded 4A's Exec VP Mike Donahue, "We were hoisted by our own petards back in July." It happens.

Best David Verklin quote: "This isn't really a panel for me. This is a job interview," the Carat America CEO's not-so-veiled reference to Aegis Group's perma-acquisition-target status on a panel filled out by executives from all of the major holding companies.

Most sophisticated barside interpretation of Al Gore's global-warming speech: Mr. Gore, the chairman of Current TV and newly minted consumer-generated media evangelist, was himself becoming a media channel.

Most realistic barside interpretation of Al Gore's global-warming speech: The ex-veep and self-described "recovering politician" was shilling for matching media dollars. "We need comps," he said.

Best nonanswer: "A supermarket or a gas station. Just to see how they work." -- Tim Armstrong, Google VP-ad sales, when asked what he'd liked to see his company buy. Who says Google doesn't talk about its strategy?

Most honest statement on consumer-generated media: "If you spend a lot of time with it, you realize how many uniquely untalented people there are in the world." -- Jason Hirschorn, MTV Networks' senior VP-digital music and media

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