Hits And Misses At Advertising Week

The second annual Advertising Week wound down Friday after 200 parties, events and panel discussions attended by an estimated 100,000 people, and event organizers said the undertaking will be tweaked each year to meet the needs of attendees.

Some industry people thought events were too numerous and, in some cases, monotonous, while others said the celebration improved from last year, but it could be even better.

One exec wondered “if anything was accomplished by having an industry that already talks to itself too much” do more of the same.

“The celebration is great,” countered one exec. “But if we can channel it into showing the business world at large the impact we truly make, that would be a step up.”

Havas’ Euro RSCG Worldwide CEO Ron Berger, co-chairman of the event, said he could understand some of those views. “As an industry, we’ve got to avoid ‘panel-ese,'” he said. “Our goal is to continue to refine and improve the content we offer up. We need to hear those comments and critiques.”

Berger said he was most proud of the amount of outreach accomplished by the Advertising Futures Program, in which 13 agencies “adopted” some 100 New York City high school students to familiarize them with the industry as a means to draw future talent.

WPP’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell managing partner Avi Dan said attracting talent was the No. 1 priority for the marketing industry, but he would like to see more client involvement next year to make discussions more interesting. Overall, he thought the week was “a vast improvement in terms of the breadth and depth of the events.”

As for those who thought there were too many events, Tom Carroll, worldwide vice chairman of Omnicom’s TBWA and an Advertising Week board member, called such criticism “ridiculous.” He added, “Advertising isn’t one- dimensional. There are tons of events because there are tons of different constituencies that make up the business.”