4A’s Nixes Planning Conference

NEW YORK The recession just claimed another industry conference, the first to be cancelled this year by the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

4A’s president Nancy Hill informed members by e-mail today that the group was canceling its Aug. 3-5 Planning Conference in San Francisco.

“The challenges we face in these difficult economic times mandate some tough decisions and for this reason, the 4A’s is canceling the 2009 Planning Conference,” Hill wrote in her memo.

“Given the new budget reality that we’re all facing, it seems appropriate for our Planning Conference to take a hiatus until next year, when we relaunch the ‘new’ Planning Conference as an international celebration of broader strategic thinking.”

Many conferences have taken huge hits in attendance this year and some have been cancelled. Attendance at the 4A’s Media Conference in March was down by a double-digit percentage. The Leadership Conference that followed was also down. The association decided subsequently to merge those meetings next year.

Hill said the Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence, part of the Planning Conference program, would be presented during Advertising Week, which begins Sept. 21 in New York.

Hill also said the association was developing a “Summer of Planning” program, which would include Webinars, live blogging and other events.