It’s hard to overstate what a “thing” Advertising Week has become. Since it was launched in 2004 by the late Ken Kaess, then chairman of the 4As, Matt Scheckner, and a team that included Burtch Drake, Ron Berger, and Mike Donahue, the conference of advertisers and advertising professionals now comprises more than two hundred and fifty events and more than one hundred and ninety seminars and workshops over four days. This year’s attendance is expected to exceed 90,000 people.
And talk about spanning generations, last year, in addition to a parade and Advertising Week reps opening the trading day on the floor of the NASDAQ, the conference featured presentations as diverse as Sabrina Calouri, Vice President of Digital & Social Media at HBO, talking about the “Game of Thrones” campaign, and Andrew Loog Oldham, former manager of the Rolling Stones, giving a master class on branding. Last year also saw Advertising Week adding a second venue in London.
Keeping the momentum going, the Advertising Week blog, launched in 2011, has evolved into the Advertising Week Social Club, an online source of insights and information with the goal to “be the most important ‘opinion column’” of our industry.
In addition, I am excited to share that for the third consecutive year, Davis & Gilbert is honored to be a part of the 2014 Advertising Week annual privacy/data forum, “Mission Impossible IV: Truth and Privacy.” I will host this forum on September 29 at The Microsoft Stage in Manhattan, and this year’s program will dissect privacy and how data is used in two compelling segments.
The first segment will feature a candid conversation with myself and FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill, on the current status of data and privacy in the marketplace and will discuss a wide range of critical topics that impact the advertising industry. In the second segment, top industry Creatives will share their perspectives on how data and technology have altered advertising, as well as their roles, and what to expect looking forward. For more information on this session, click here.
The Way I See It
- I see Advertising Week as truly capturing the breadth and diversity of the industry. There isn’t a business, an audience, a media channel, or content provider that advertising doesn’t influence. And it’s the creativity and innovation of the advertising industry that has led the way in exploring the full possibilities of digital and mobile media.
- I see Advertising Week also demonstrating the importance of the industry to New York. Along with fashion and entertainment, advertising represents some of the city’s most creative and successful professionals.
- I see Advertising Week as an opportunity to connect and hear from some of the greatest minds in the industry as well as to discuss the most cutting edge and pertinent issues facing the industry.
The Way the Industry Sees It
I sat down with Advertising Week’s Executive Director Matt Scheckner to talk about this year’s Advertising Week and how it reflects the changing face of the industry.
This is the eleventh year that you’ve produced Advertising Week. How has the event evolved from past years, and what part of that evolution are you most proud of?
The growth curve from 2004 to 2014 is straight up and it’s all grounded in the continued evolution of the thought leadership program. In the early days, there were just a handful of Seminars in one venue, the old Museum of TV and Radio (now the Paley Center). In 2014, we will stage right around two hundred and fifty seminars on seven stages, all in our Times Square “Hub.” Beyond growing in size, the scope of what we cover has expanded tremendously. Perhaps what we are most proud of is that there has never been a singular theme to the seminar program. Rather, we work the year round to deliver a broad spectrum of content tied to the most challenging, dynamic areas of the industry so we cover a very wide range of subjects. Going deep both horizontally and vertically is centric to our DNA and a badge of pride.
What’s new and exciting for this year? What portions of the programming are you most looking forward to?
We continue to deliver a balance of what the delegates will expect, going deep on cross-screen, data, mobile, native, programmatic and video, for example, but we also go in unexpected directions and continue to build a bridge to the broader arena of popular culture. So for 2014, we are thrilled to have Tasting Table with us, in conversation with Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, and Dominique Ansell, followed by Jamie Oliver who is coming over from London. We’re equally thrilled to have Lincoln Center on the program of the first time with an extended Seminar around marketing to the performing arts featuring Bravo’s Andy Cohen. And we’re excited to present the leadership of the new AMSG entity which enjoins music industry powerhouse Irving Azoff with James Dolan and Madison Square Garden who will appear together along with independent film icon, Harvey Weinstein. We’re also quite pleased to have Sir Martin Sorrell, Michael Roth, Yannick Bollore, Maurice Levy and Miles Nadal all on the agenda, along with Arianna Huffington, Marissa Mayer, and Sheryl Sandberg. There is also a big UK presence here in New York City for Advertising Week XI, a direct outcome of the success of Advertising Week Europe which returns to London for the third time March 23-27. Centaur is leading the way presenting Jessica Alba, and we also have Haymarket’s Campaign with their Editor Claire Beale in conversation with Sir John Hegarty, Chuck Porter and Tham Kai Meng, The Drum and D&AD all on the program along with The Lighthouse Company and S.I. Partners. And our buddy Chris Goldson of ITV is chairing a session as well. We love that trans-Atlantic crossover. Sustaining four full days is also something we really strive for and we are strong right to the end with the last seminar of the week on October 2 featuring Carolyn Everson in conversation with NFL Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan. So we begin with a bang Monday early morning, and end with a bang late Thursday.
What do you see as the mission of Advertising Week? Is it simply an opportunity for advertising people to celebrate – and network with – advertising people, or does it have a broader, and maybe more subtle, impact?
It all comes down to education, enlightenment, engagement and entertainment. By definition, all of the night-time big concerts, comedy and dinners, etc. only really work as well as they do because that programming all sits on top of a day-time thought leadership foundation. Cause and social impact are also deeply engrained into the fabric of Advertising Week, which is why the Ad Council is bring celebrated this year as long-time President Peggy Conlon steps down and why we stage Seminars like “Doing Good Still Matters” featuring the founder of War Child and leaders from other major causes including the Global Poverty Project and ALS.
How have you seen the industry itself change in the past eleven years? Obviously the explosion of social and mobile media has altered the media landscape, but are there other changes you’ve seen that maybe overlook in our obsession with all things digital (and millennial)?
Well, it really is all about that convergence of technology, content and distribution. We have watched an amazing rise of new players, technologies and accompanying lexicon. Android . . . Behavioral Targeting . . . Big Data . . . BuzzFeed . . . The Cloud . . . Digital Video . . . The Huffington Post . . . iPad . . . iPhone . . . Instagram . . . Mobile . . . Native . . . Netflix . . . Programmatic . . . ubiquitous WiFi. None existed in 2004.
The Advertising Week website talks about “paving the way forward” for the industry. Where do you see the industry and Advertising Week itself in the next ten years?
That balance between big ideas that resonate; leveraging technology to foster one on one relationships and how the next generation treats “Traditional” media and how content is consumed will continue to evolve. Business models are going to have to evolve along the way and over the next ten years, history tells us new players will emerge, and long established players will wither away. So for Advertising Week – both here in New York City and in London as well as other parts of the world as we expand – staying a step ahead will be our mandate. And rest assured, we will continue to surprise, every year.
What’s the most interesting object in your office?
A letter my Mom wrote to the President of a rather average company, Otis Spunkmeyer, asking where she could find their blueberry muffins in South Florida. “They’re really exceptional.” My Mom wrote. They are not actually exceptional at all, they are rather average. But I love her passion, and that passion is what drives us to deliver a knockout program every year. I also own the largest collection of original photographs from “The Honeymooners” and have a number of them in my office, but that letter from my Mom always gets me.