Find formula for a stronger Week

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Advertising Week in New York City has the makings of a good event that should come back next year-with a sharper focus on a far smaller scale.

What could be truly appealing: a narrow agenda where the best and brightest from across the industry home in on issues-marketing effectiveness, changes in technology and consumer behavior-that keep you awake at night.

The goal should be a tightly coordinated set of events with a clear agenda. New York is a good stage, but the event must draw on a world of talent. And the event needs to stand on its own with industry-wide support, independent of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

The 4A's, which conceived the event, deserves credit for trying something bold. In the end, the Week was overly ambitious, with too many initiatives and too little coordination. The industry now has a chance to figure out what worked.

Advertising Week is an easy target for critics. Yet good things happened last week. Marketers, agencies and media debated on stage and off. Events drew some big names-and many new names with new ideas. New York works as a city because from chaos comes energy and creativity; and so worked the Week.

It's to be determined if last week's event 1) made the business more appealing to new talent or 2) proved to consumers how vital the industry is, two key goals. For next year, the former is a worthy goal; the latter could get the next Week off track.

The event probably advanced a third goal-to make people in this business feel better about the biz. People had a good time-and that's not a bad thing for an industry still recovering from layoffs and losses of the last recession. But the Week needs to do more.

It needs to decide its reason for being and then execute the mission with the same discipline that marketing professionals execute smart marketing plans. The Week shouldn't be built on yesterday's advertising icons. It must be about tomorrow's marketing solutions.

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