YOUR guide to Advertising Week

The essential places to see and be seen (and, yes, the icons will be there)

By Published on .

Advertising week is once again upon on us. And although the organizers are promising a tighter, better-organized affair than in years past, you'll still need help navigating an agenda that includes some 67 panels, conferences and official events. Herewith, Advertising Age's opinionated guide to the third annual Advertising Week.

Monday

8 a.m., Starrett STUDIO: You'll need something to fill the yawning void left by the icons' bump to Friday. How about some straight talk on doilies, pumpkin carvings and multiplatform ad deals? Martha Stewart and her namesake company's CEO, Susan Lyne, chat each other up, but you need an invite to get in.

2 p.m., minskoff theatre: High net worths, large spheres of influence and surnames that begin with "Wr" aren't the only things Bob Wright and John Wren share. They're both putting in a little face time at Advertising Week . The NBC Universal chairman is interviewed by Chuck Ross of TVWeek, an Advertising Age sibling, while the Omnicom chief faces off with Disney Theatricals President Tom Schumacher at 4.

6 p.m., Bryant Park Grill: What would an ad-industry event be without an open bar, awkward conversation and boozy flirtations with overly friendly "single" men displaying strange, wedding-band-shape tan lines?

8 p.m., Nokia Theatre: Any lingering doubts as to whether hip-hop duo Gnarls Barkley is a) overcommercialized and b) overexposed will be resolved when the pair plays to an audience full of advertising execs. For all you cultural anthropologists, it's a good chance to watch white people dance the way only white people can-really badly.

Tuesday

8:30 A.M., McGraw-HIll Gallery: Direct Marketing Association panel. One-to-one marketing. Apparently a lot of people are using it. And apparently it delivers big ROI. Go figure.

11 a.m., Mcgraw-Hill auditorium: Big ideas are, well, big these days, at least on the conference circuit. Watch a bunch of marketers, including Johnson & Johnson's Brian Perkins and Audi's Stephen Berkov, talk about them.

1 p.m., 250 Broadway, 16th floor: New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook is hosting a hearing for all agency and media players to weigh in on the diversity issue. Now that Omnicom-the lone holding-company holdout-has signed on with several other shops that endorsed a New York City Commission on Human Rights agreement to set diversity-hiring goals, the commission's hearing is likely to be canceled.

4 p.m., McGraw-HIll auditorium: Come witness the further disintegration of American democracy-er, see a pair of high-powered political operatives talk about possible ad strategies for the next election. Republican Mark McKinnon and Democrat David Axelrod weigh in.

6 p.m., Chelsea Clearview Cinemas: Creativity's No Spot short-film festival. Featured in this year's celebration of directorial talent known and unknown are offerings from Gwyneth Paltrow and Spike Jonze that have as key plot points fecal matter and talking bears. You can guess who's into which .

Wednesday

8 a.m., McGraw-Hill Auditorium: Close your eyes and imagine a place where commercial messages are stuffed into every moment of all your favorite TV shows, movies and music; where talent agents, producers and other middlemen wield undue power over marketing programs; and where Donald Trump vehicles actually make for good case studies. Now open them. Welcome to Advertising Age's Madison & Vine.

2 p.m., Bloomberg building: Boasting just under a millennium of collective agency experience, a septet of marketing giants, including Harold Burson, Tom Messner, and Lester Wunderman, will offer "Giant Ideas on How to Make it in Advertising." You will leave enlightened, inspired and wondering just where the hell your earnout is.

6 P.M. & 8:30 P.M., FRIARS CLUB: Our cup runneth over with forums where ad execs can embarrass themselves. First there's a stand-up comedy show, a really good idea because so many commercials are, you know, so hilarious (6 p.m.). Then there's a Texas Hold 'Em tournament at 8:30.

8 p.m., SUpper Club: Meet the new Battle-of-the-Ad-Bands boss, who most definitely will not be the same as the old boss. McKinney's Pants, the industry's reigning musical ensemble, is not defending its crown.

Thursday

8:30 a.m. & 4 p.m., McGraw-Hill: Edgier organizers would have signed up Mark Cuban and David Stern to resolve their NBA Finals differences with some Yahoo-sponsored steel-cage-match action. Instead, we get Messrs. Cuban (part of TVWeek's Spotlight Series at 8:30 a.m.) and Stern (4 p.m.) speaking on different Advertising Week panels on the same day. Sooo close.

1 p.m., Art Directors Club: Here's a curious event. The Art Directors Club promises "an afternoon of provocative dialogue on branding." No more specifics offered and no speakers listed. We smell a trap. Beware, especially if you have unpaid parking tickets.

Friday

3 p.m., Madison Avenue To Times Square: You wanted it. You waited for it. And damn it, you earned it. Don't walk, run to Times Square to catch more than 100 advertising icons strutting their stuff and shaking off the indignity of being bumped from opening day. The most popular, as d etermined by voting at Yahoo.com, will be crowned.

If there's a prevailing wind of irony in the universe, the winner will be Aunt Jemima, that commercial embodiment of a particularly horrific racial stereotype that has somehow made its way into the running for "favorite icon." For those of you who somehow managed to miss it last year, the Geico Gecko and Juan Valdez rode off with last year's crown.
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