Advertising Week 2006

A Runup to Advertising Week

Reporter Matt Creamer's Somewhat Opinionated Event Guide

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
First thing's first: 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 at 8 a.m. at Starrett Studio, but you need an invitation to get in.
Martha Stewart and Susan Lyne will be chatting each other up for invited guests at Starrett Studio.
Martha Stewart and Susan Lyne will be chatting each other up for invited guests at Starrett Studio. Credit: AP
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 in successive question-and-answer sessions. The NBC Universal chairman is interviewed by Chuck Ross of TVWeek, an Advertising Age sibling publication, at 2 p.m., while the Omnicom chief faces off with Disney Theatricals President Tom Schumacher at 4 p.m. at the Minskoff Theatre.

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-shaped tan lines on their ring fingers? Nothing, that's what. So paint your toenails and go to the Opening Gala at Bryant Park Grill at 6 p.m.

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 at the Nokia Theatre at 8 p.m. For all you cultural anthropologists, it's a good chance to watch white people dance the way only white people can -- really badly.
Omnicom chief John Wren will be interviewed at 4 p.m. at the Minskoff Theatre on Monday.
Omnicom chief John Wren will be interviewed at 4 p.m. at the Minskoff Theatre on Monday.

Tuesday
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, 11 a.m. at the McGraw Hill Auditorium.

One-to-one marketing. Apparently a lot of people are using it. And apparently it delivers big return on investment. Go figure. Direct Marketing Association panel, 8:30 a.m., McGraw Hill Gallery.

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 Group -- the lone holding-company holdout -- has changed course and 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. Mr. Seabrook's event goes on at 1 p.m at 250 Broadway, 16th floor.

Come witness the further disintegration of American democracy -- er, see a pair of high-powered political operatives talk about possible advertising strategies for the next election. Republican Mark McKinnon and Democrat David Axelrod weigh in at the McGraw Hill Auditorium at 4 p.m.
New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook wil be hosting a hearing on the diversity hiring issue.
New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook wil be hosting a hearing on the diversity hiring issue.

Creativity magazine'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 or go to Chelsea Clearview Cinemas at 6 p.m. find out for sure.

Wednesday
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, 8 a.m., McGraw Hill Auditorium.

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. 2 p.m. at the Bloomberg building.

Our cup runneth over with Friars Club 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.

Meet the new Battle-of-the-Ad-Bands boss, who most definitely will not be the same as the old one. McKinney's Pants, the industry's reigning musical ensemble, is not defending its crown. So the field is wide open for the likes of McCann Erickson's World Grope and JWT's Assless Chaps. Questions to be answered: Who will melt the most faces? Who will rock the most worlds? And who, dear reader, will shake you all night long? Find out 8 p.m. at the Supper Club.
Mark Cuban will be speaking as part of TVWeek's Spotlight Series at McGraw Hill Auditorium.
Mark Cuban will be speaking as part of TVWeek's Spotlight Series at McGraw Hill Auditorium. Credit: AP

Thursday
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. at McGraw Hill Auditorium) and Stern (4 p.m. at McGraw Hill) speaking on different Advertising Week panels on the same day. Sooo close. We can only hope they cross paths in a hallway so they can get all Ron Artest on each other.

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. Art Directors Club, 1 p.m.

Friday
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 icons strutting their stuff and shaking off the indignity of being bumped from opening day. The most popular, per 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." 3 p.m.; procession begins at Madison Avenue and goes on to Times Square.

All week
The Ad Council is running a weeklong blood drive. The revellers among you would do well to consider blood chemistry issues before heading to one of four donation centers around the city.
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