Advertising Age Digital 2009 – An All Thumbs Review

One thing about working for a world-class organization is opportunity…opportunity to explore new ideas and innovations…opportunities to evaluate partners and best practices from some of the best organizations in digital today. Which brings me to this weeks Advertising Age Digital 2009 Conference that took place at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City.

As one would expect there were insights, observations, talk of new trends, panel discussions, back-to-back presentations, and some memorable moments worth noting. And out of all of this professed wisdom there reined one or two particularly exceptional moments of truth often not heard into today’s conferences.

Out of this came some clear winners and clear losers. Being frank has sometimes got me in trouble…but I always am speaking openly and truthfully which is what this blog will do today…if you are going to charge people to listen to what you have to say… you best be prepared to hear differences of opinion. So instead of pointing fingers let’s concentrate on pointing thumbs ☺

Thumbs seem to be the texting method of the Y generation…so it’s appropriate to give a thumbs up…thumbs down or nothing but thumbs review for this year’s conference presentations.

But before I do that I have to say that the folks at Advertising Age hosted a great forum. I personally want to thank them for the agenda they set, the speakers they lined up and their hospitality. A special thanks to Jonah Bloom, editor and mc of Ad Age…this is one Brit worth knowing…a straight talking…action oriented chap.

Two Thumbs Up to…

The clear winner of the show was Simon Clift of Unilever…without a doubt the best presentation I have seen in the last twenty years of business. His candor, truth and honest insights to brand, corporate responsibility, passions from human wellness and a products effect on global social influences was refreshing and candid. Most people bury the truth. He hit truth between the eyes. After spending my career in business and advertising … I like most of you am use to hearing corporations dodge and hide the ills their organizations put on society. Mr. Clift I commend you…not that this is what you want to hear…I’m just glad that you are at the helm…many companies hopefully will follow your lead. Instead of ousting Greenpeace for their protest on destroying trees to gather palm oil for Dove…he invited them in for tea and now is partnering with them to do the right thing for us all.

Thanks to Evidently…the organization that worked with Simon to produce his presentation. It’s quite remarkable what preparation, practice and attention to detail brings to an audience. It’s good to know we matter enough. Special kudos to Marisa…I thank you…you are a truly gifted person despite the fact that you are a Blue Jays fan 🙂

To the David from Hershey’s who had the insight to call it like he saw it in-front of the large crowd to wake up our friends at Blockbuster for their inability to see what they didn’t want to see.

A future changing thumbs up to GOGII you are going to single handed change the way we text and gather data on brands for years to come…quite simply brilliant. We better all learn of a good carpel tunnel doc because this new idea is going to revolutionize mobile advertising and brand knowledge for us all.

More Thumbs up…

To Keith Lee for hands down getting it! His genius to develop incredible user experiences and motivation models for his products are amazing. He shared with us all from learning’s that help engage the avid World of Warcraft following. Wow…would I love to spend a couple days in their shop to learn the magic of human behavior.

To Damon Wayans for his cool lid…yeah I’m the guy you were sitting next too who saved you from crushing your sunglasses…and I’m the guy that didn’t get a by-line in the group photo on Advertising Age Digital. No worries…I’ve always admired your work. You’re a class act.

For the producers of the TV hit Heroes…primarily because my boys like the show. Your integrated approach to multiple mediums should wake up a few broadcasters.

To UNICEF and P&G’s Lucas Watson Global Team Leader, Digital Business Strategy for their vaccination campaign, which is saving lives and entrusting a brand. If you purchase a package of pampers and selected products P&G will vaccinate a child

Joe Rospars, founding partner of Blue State Digital…the man behind President Obama’s new media marketing efforts and truly an email maven and campaign strategist We appreciated your direct approach to results and your being real attitude. It’s no wonder one and six subscribers voted for President Obama. The solution to getting it done…”How can you make someone act NOW”. By converting the top 15% of his audience he helped the USA make a change in history both for one-man…one nation and the future of online marketing. I hope to work with you soon.

Even More Thumbs Up…Wahooeeeee!!

Thumbs up to Fredrik Caristro, CEO and ECD of Great works America and his team for an Absolut idea that took a social media risk by taking custom musical machines that proved art still can be integrate advertising and engage a world with one of a kind concepts to interest and drive the senses of passion.

Thanks PJ Pereira, Chief Creative Director & Co-founder, Pereira & O’Dell…. for reinforcing Simon and others belief that the next revolution to follow this recession will a Creative Revolution….an opinion I share. He summed it up well by commenting we all well need to learn how to organize chaos.

To Benjamin Palmer of the barbarian group for recognizing with a calm cool delivery that …yeah we did this thing…and that thing did some things that …yeah were good. You would have made comedian Steven Wright proud. It was a nice reminder to those who get caught up in themselves… creative without the chest beating. Refreshing too be so comfortable with your works. Yeah well it worked.

Thumbs up to being on the client side once again for this great organization I work for and the kids we try to help everyday…passion still means something. If you care to join me in a few incredible global health initiatives stay tuned to next year…you may see Cincinnati Children’s on that stage talking about saving a few lives.

To my new friends…Jonah, Marisa, Bob, Louis, Lisette, Allison, Joe, Sheryl and the others who I hope to work with over the next year initiating some new projects to directly help kids and their families get healthy.

Nothing But All Thumbs Awards goes to…

Twitter. If you weren’t on twitter you felt like a twit! Ugh. I was twitted out just hearing the word twitter two million fourteen hundred thousand times in only two days.

Agencies that still don’t get it. And believe you me…many of them really don’t get it. Which is a shock…my suggestion to you is retire. Prepare to see many fall in the next year that can’t recognize or react to this changing world.

Blockbuster… for ignoring what you have… and ignoring your consumer audience segments…it’s more than soccer moms. Being close-minded will get you a one-way ticket out of business. Pay attention to your other audiences like the eighty Netflix fans in the audience who were trying to get you to recognize them as a segment. With that said I give you credit for standing up there and taking it in the gut. Now stand back up and get to work.

Thumbs down to…

All of those who had their heads down in the conference texting and checking emails non-stop…yes…you were at a digital conference hearing about twitter and every other trend…but professional courtesy and respect for those speaking and those sitting around you still has a place in this world. Or at least it should. Rude is rude. Trust me your not that important.

Arrogance and the inability to change award goes to the group of journalists on the panel that refuse to grow and learn. Insisting that having a Peabody award carries more relevance then changing …pay attention and get over your selves…perhaps it’s time to understand that everyone in this world is worth reading and listening too.

The staff at the Met for not being ready when audience members showed up to attend the conference …remember you had people coming from all over the globe to attend your facility. Pride and preparation still can go a long way.

The AV staff that was hired to support the folks at Ad Age need to get it together and pay back the good folks at Ad Age for all the mistakes you made and all the discomfort you put the speakers and audience through. I’ve been in your seats before…it doesn’t have to be so difficult.

And finally, two thumbs down to the NYC cop who pulled over the young middle eastern cab driver who was driving me to the conference and gave him two tickets / four points against his license for a left hand turn that a hundred thousand people make every day in New York. Especially when Abdul and I were having a great conversation about how NYC is the place to live because people don’t see color. No kidding the timing was epic and ridiculous.

And finally to the clear winner of the conference…YOU.

Ultimately all of the innovations and creative prowess shared will eventually hit an experience nearest you. Hopefully I may be a part of a few of those…I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

And at the insane speed things are moving today…sooner than later no doubt.

The views expressed in this blog are solely my views and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of my employer.


About Cloonan

Great Work Inspires Great People I’m always excited to see great peoples work. To hear and learn about others and share in their experiences in life, design and business. Who knows maybe someday I might learn something from you and you may read something of interest from me. Cloonan. Thinking Out Loud The opinions and views written in my blog are my personal views and insights…they do not in any way reflect or represent the views of my employer. The goal and spirit of social media is to increase communities, build relationships, share and put your personal perspective on life’s content. That is the purpose of my blog. I welcome all comments positive or negative to my own. Life is about sharing…it is about respect…it is about consideration…sometimes good and sometimes bad. Slainte’
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