Assessing value: Among the 80 or so conference attendees at the session titled "Your Agency: What's It Worth & How Do You Realize Its Value?" was Gerry Rubin, president-CEO of Rubin Postaer & Associates, whose agency has been rumored to be courted by Omnicom and Dentsu, among others. "I take note of the circumstances, but I'm here for an education. It's not because I have any intention," he said. Others taking advantage of the educational opportunity were Tom Bedecarre and Kirk Citron, partners in Citron Haligman Bedecarre.
Barbed, wired: Ivy League Webhead George Gilder, Forbes ASAP founder and contributing editor, and hacker-buster Clifford Stoll, author of "Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway," went at it in a general session, feuding over Internet interactions. Mr. Gilder defended the Web as a place where users can develop "intimate relationships," testily warning the ad crowd: "You won't be able to shovel [ads] in their faces anymore." Mr. Stoll called Internet communications dehumanizing with poor long-term financial prospects for Web advertisers and content providers. "The dirty little secret of the Internet is that it's a neighborhood of cheapskates," he said.
Inter-active: Several of the sessions focused on new media. O. Burtch Drake, Four A's president-CEO, said a survey of 200 member advertising agencies found that 75% are building or maintaining Web sites for clients. One-third of those said they were motivated by competition and peer pressure, while only 20% listed marketing strategy as their primary motivation.
Network woes: NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer said the TV networks are getting hurt by unfair competition from cable stations that deliver network programming to their customers but in most cases don't pay networks for the privilege. Mr. Ohlmeyer also predicted shrinkage in the network lineup. "There won't be six networks in 10 years," he said, hinting that there might only be one. "We don't want to be the No. 1 network. We want to be the network."
Kudos: For the second consecutive year, the Four A's named DeVito/Verdi, New York, the best small agency in the U.S., awarding it 1995's A+ creative award for shops with billings below $30 million. Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, won for the first time in the large-agency category. The John O'Toole Award, honoring consistently great advertising over a five-year period, went to Chrysler Corp. for Jeep, handled by Bozell, Southfield, Mich.
Name game: Ralph Rydholm, chairman-CEO of Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, made fun of Paris-based Euro RSCG's recent decision to flip his agency's name from Tatham Euro RSCG by introducing himself as Rydholm Ralph.
Alice z. cuneo, scott donaton, mark gleason