The Date: April 16, 2008
The Venue: The New Bar @ JWT, New York
The Crowd: Agency peeps, devotees of the planning discipline, Stuart Elliot
The Food: Freeloader was actually a couple this time around. The male half of the Weloader was feeling peckish and scooped up all available eats, which were surprisingly plentiful for an in-house bar. Highlights include a sushi bar, chicken teriyaki wraps and mini-quesadillas. The female half stuck to the drinks.
The Drinks: Full Diageo bar, natch
The Swag: The book
We(loader) strolled, oh, about a block over to JWT's Lexington Avenue outpost to partake in festivities for the U.S. book launch of "A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King" -- the most fundamental work from the late father of the account-planning discipline, who made a career at JWT.
While Weloader gives mad respect to Mr. King's contributions to the business and all, we're more into partying over planning, so it was JWT's newest contribution to Midtown -- the New Bar -- that got us all "OMG!!" and stuff.
The venue is ginormous: decorated in lime green and blue-black leather banquettes, with mirrored walls and oversized lampshades dangling above. The prime feature is, of course, the 50-foot-long neon blue bar fully stocked with client Diageo's liquor (JWT does work for Smirnoff and Bailey's).
All in all, officially the best in-office bar Weloader has ever seen.
For the event, the New Bar stepped up its usual happy hour chips-n-salsa and chicken wings to serve respectable array of hors d'oeuvres and an impressive sushi selection.
Countless folks dutifully worked the stage -- which usually hosts musical guests -- to hawk the tome, one going so far to bill it as a steal to get 20 books in one in such "recession-laden times."
A DJ camped above the bustling crowd, spinning grooves in an attempt to liven JWT execs the like of Ty Montague and Bob Jeffrey, who mingled with a wide-ranging crowd of overenthusiastic planners, PR industry folks, reporters and others.
JWT Co-President Rosemarie Ryan joked that the new-and-improved drinking hole has already helped her recruit five and prevented three JWTers from leaving. This fete was closed to JWT riff-raff, though, who usually start strolling in around 5 p.m. to take advantage of the subsidized drink prices ($4 for a glass of decent wine!).
By the time Weloader was done boozin, swag wasn't to be had, as greedy planners had stolen all the books. Oh well, see you next time. We hear there are free kegs on Thursdays.