Reporter's Notebook: 4A's Media Conference

From Jim Stengel's Avatar to Talking Fruit in Your Underwear

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LAS VEGAS (AdAge.com) -- Here we look back at some of the quirkier moments at the Association of American Advertising Agencies' Media Conference ranging from Jim Stengel's avatar to the issue of talking fruit in your underwear.

MOST GRATUITOUS NEW-MEDIA REFERENCE: Procter & Gamble Co.'s ever-theatrical Jim Stengel opened his address with a video of his Second Life avatar with a virtual Leo Burnett. And you thought Crispin's Orville Redenbacher resurrection was creepy.

MOST GRATUITOUS TRASH-TALKING: Mr. Stengel again: "The ugliest avatar I saw in Second Life was [ANA boss] Bob Liodice. Sorry, Bob."

YET ANOTHER AWKWARD MOMENT IN MADISON AVE's DIVERSITY QUAGMIRE: A panel on diversity followed Mr. Stengel's presentation, and a large chunk of the audience registered its interest by streaming out of the room. "How do you expect to change diversity practices when half the audience leaves?" asked one who remained.

SCARIEST PREDICTION FOR THOSE WHO MAKE MONEY OFF OF CONTENT: AOL Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis, predicting everything will be free in the future: "We follow Moore's law," he said. "Give them more more more for less less less."

WHY THE STATUS QUO IS NOT A GOOD THING: "There is a need for more sophisticated information on how people consume video. I'm disheartened that three years later, we are still talking about it. ... Consumers are much further along in their consumption than we are in our ability to measure it." -- Denuo's Tim Hanlon

THE ESSENTIAL BUT PAINFUL TRUTH ABOUT MEDIA MEASUREMENT: "Let's not forget that there are no absolute truths here, we're dealing with estimates based on sampling, not universal measurement." -- Group M CEO Marc Goldstein

BEST PERSPECTIVE ON THE POWER AND LIMITS OF ADVERTISING: "If advertising was really that powerful, people would believe that they had talking fruit in their underwear." -- 4A's Senior VP-Counsel Adonis Hoffman*

* Mr. Hoffman has since contacted Ad Age to attribute this quote to Dick Sittig, founder of Secret Weapon Marketing, whom he was quoting. In his address, he attributed the quote to an "advertsing icon."
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