WSAAA Posts Strong Turnout : Speaker Sees Internet Changes as Potential Threat to Ad Agencies

By Angela Dawson

LOS ANGELES–Lawyer Doug Wood is not looking at the future through rose-colored glasses.

He has a grim forecast of upcoming changes on the Internet and warns that these developments may potentially hurt agencies and their clients.

He delivered that message to ad executives attending the Western States Advertising Agencies Association’s 47th annual conference at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, Calif., May 1-4.

A partner with Hall, Dickler, Kent, Friedman & Wood in Los Angeles and legal counsel to the WSAAA, Wood was among several guest speakers who addressed the conference. This year’s theme was ’20/20 Vision: Foresight and Hindsight.’

Wood explained that changes to the way Internet addresses are assigned next year could mean proprietary problems for companies. He also warned privatization of the system may result in e-mail interruptions and possibly a total shutdown of the .com system, which is used by many advertisers spending millions of dollars to promote their products.

Other luminaries, presenting less dire prognostications for advertising agencies, included golf and wine entrepreneur Ely Callaway, Charles Schwab president David Pottruck and former West Coast advertising executives Brad Ball and Steve Hayden.

Attendance at this year’s event totaled 221, up 25 percent over last year, according to Carol Golden, the organization’s executive director. She attributed the higher participation level to a strong roster of speakers and the robust economy.

Rubin Postaer and Associates’ Larry Postaer, who served as this year’s conference chairman, said he was ‘particularly proud that the prodigal sons’ Ball and Hayden agreed to provide their insights to the advertising group.

A former Davis, Ball & Colombatto president, Ball left Los Angeles in late 1995 for a senior marketing post at McDonald’s. He offered observations of his marketing steps and missteps since his arrival at the world’s largest fast food chain.

He also expressed disappointment over Fallon McElligott’s decision earlier this year to end its relationship with McDonald’s to pursue the Domino’s Pizza account.

–with Kathy Tyrer

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