ANA cancels conference, citing concern over air travel

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A concern about air travel in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 was given as the reason the Association of National Advertisers canceled its annual conference scheduled for next month in Naples, Fla.

The news was first reported on Sept. 18. John J. Sarsen Jr., CEO of the ANA, sent out a memo to association members and a press release the next day.

"We are sensitive to the fact that many individuals are squeamish about flying at this time," Mr. Sarsen wrote to members, "and we are aware that in several cases travel restrictions have been imposed by member and guest companies."

The event, scheduled for Oct. 10-14, would have been the 92nd annual conference, Mr. Sarsen said. He added that he was unaware of any other year when the conference was canceled, but guessed it was probably during the World War II years. According to Advertising Age archives, the meeting did go on during the three full years America was involved in World War II, 1942, 1943 and 1944.

The cancellation will certainly have an effect on the ANA's budget. Without citing numbers, Mr. Sarsen said the loss of the annual conference will have "a negative financial impact, no doubt, but we're not concerned about that at all."

According to its IRS tax filings for last year, the ANA made $5 million from membership dues and assessments out of total revenue of $7.8 million. About 12% of its revenue derived from seminars ($370,790), forums ($54,792), conferences ($214,753) and annual meetings ($284,868).

The ANA will still hold its Multicultural Marketing Conference in Key Biscayne, Fla., from Nov. 4-6, Mr. Sarsen said.

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