Hillary Clinton was a no-show. So were Chuck Schumer and Charles Rangel. "Some people could not be here because of the political situation," said Robert Lilley, chairman of the John A. Reisenbach Foundation, which threw its annual black-tie dinner in the Rainbow Room last week. The politicians, who are honorary chairmen of the foundation, were in Washington dealing with the fallout of the latest terrorist attack in Israel. Otherwise, the event, which raised $450,000 for such good causes as a charter school in Harlem, was filled with media people. Irwin Gottlieb and Marc Goldstein of MindShare were there, Alec Gerster, Jon Mandel and Donna Speciale of MediaCom; Ed Erhardt of ESPN/ABC Sports; and Brad Siegel, Barry Goodman, David Levy and a table full of fellow male Turner execs were there ("We look like a poker game," said one), among many others. Warner Brother VP Sandy Reisenbach, father of the foundation's namesake who was slain in 1990, gave a "Distinguished Citizenship" award to AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin (and not a word about retiring from him all night).
Emcee Leeza Gibbons gushed over visiting students from the Harlem school who sang "I Can See Clearly Now." All sparkly and giddy, Leeza rambled on about how the kids were just so adorable they reminded her of good friend Cindy Crawford and her new baby. Meanwhile, media-man-without-portfolio Jamie Korsen worked the room. "He behaved himself perfectly," said Ted Faraone, the foundation's spokesman. "The only problem was his tuxedo shirt, which he wore without a tie. Was he afraid of wearing a crooked tie? I don't know. A crooked tie only proves you tied it yourself, so what?" Indeed, Jamie let out few hints that he was on his own, without work as it were, having parted company with KSL Media earlier this year. "This is a great networking event," Jamie told Adages at the Rainbow bar. "But more importantly, it is networking on behalf of the greater good of a charity." Jamie then fingered the beady black buttons of his tieless shirt and whispered conspiratorially, "But you never know where your next client will come from."
No skin off his head
Weathering the recession is especially tough for Asian-American ad agencies, who get less than 1% of all ad spending and are left off most advertisers' budgets. And it doesn't help that Asian ad executives tend to be quiet and low-profile. Not Zan Ng, founder-president of the largest Asian agency Admerasia and a relatively flamboyant figure in his leather jacket, jeans and flowing dark locks. This is Zan's offer: Be the first advertiser in a category that hasn't targeted the Asian community and Zan will shave his head and display your logo prominently on his head for a whole year.
"It's a sarcastic creative way to send a message," he says. Key categories that would incite him to whip out his razor and scissors include package goods and pharmaceuticals. And Zan's offer is good even if the client picks a different agency.
Wait, there's more. "The first [Asian] ad is for free " Zan promises.
Contributing: Laurel Wentz
Send cutting remarks to [email protected]