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What keeps you up at night?

September 28, 2010
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It’s Ad Week here in New York, and like the other ad-nerds, media devotees, and a few people that we can only assume are disillusioned Mad Men fans, we are braving the rain to bring you up-to-date coverage of the best Ad Week events.

We kicked off the week with the Advertising Week Leadership Conversation at the Times Center, billed as “the intersection of media, content and brands woven together by the inimitable [moderator] Stuart Elliott.” Elliot introduced the panelists as “superstars,” and superstars they were: the audience watched as the panelists quickly focused his playful, somewhat general questions into articulate, relevant statements about the state of the advertising and media worlds.

It didn’t hurt, of course, that the panel featured Jacki Kelley, UM President, North America. The other big names were Greg Coleman from The Huffington Post, Arlene Manos from Rainbow Media, Patrick McKenna from BMW, and Pio Schunker from Coca-Cola.

Elliott started off the conversation by asking the panelists a question that felt purposefully intimate: “What keeps you up at night?” In other words, what worries you about the state of advertising and media? Everyone seemed to have a different answer. Unsurprisingly, concerns about the economy surfaced—BMW’s McKenna mentioned that consumers are doing more comparison shopping, and thinking harder about their luxury purchases. Jacki Kelley added that her constant concern, in fact, was continuing to source and secure excellent talent, something that she viewed as vital in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Other panelists expressed simultaneous worry and excitement over the increasing overlap of social media, traditional media, PR, and marketing.

The conversation drifted among the panelists comfortably and with humor. Each one addressed the changing trends in the media marketplace – how the model seems to have shifted from integrated agencies, to specialized shops, back to an integrated “all-in-one-place” approach. Coca-Cola’s Pio Schunker stated firmly that he continues to believe in the hub-and-spoke model, but that Coca-Cola will be building their in-house brand management teams as a way to achieve balance and ensure strong vision for its various partnerships. There was consensus among the panelists that partnering with “best in class” agencies is always the ultimate goal.

Finally, a highlight came when an audience member asked a question that all of the panelists seemed to want to answer in unison: “Is content still king?”

“In essence, marketing is storytelling,” came the answer from Mr. Coleman. “Content is everything. Content is more important than ever.”

If you aren’t sure which events to catch over the next few days, here are some upcoming panels that we recommend:

  • Tuesday, 9 to 9:45 am – the Mobile Ad Summit features our global CEO, Matt Seiler
  • Wednesday, 8 to 10:45 am – the MediaLab event
  • Wednesday, 2:30 to 7 pm – the Huffington Post’s Social Media for Adults featuring Marc Ruxin, our Chief Innovation Officer
  • Thursday, 12 to 1:45 pm – ANA Socratic debate, featuring Nick Brien, CEO McCann Worldgroup
  • Thursday, 3 to 5:30 pm – Judges Choices: Effie winners that stood out and why. Moderated by Matt Seiler.

Hope to see you there!

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