Industry Celebration Seeks Focus

NEW YORK The third annual Advertising Week industry celebration is striving for improved organization and navigability, a response to criticism that its previous iterations were somewhat poorly organized.

“You learn from experience, and we’re more focused this year,” said Advertising Week CEO and president O. Burtch Drake, who also serves as CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Drake also stressed the lineup of speakers from outside the industry, like HDNet’s Mark Cuban and studio head Harvey Weinstein.

This year’s event takes place in and around two mid-Manhattan venues Sept. 25-29: McGraw-Hill and the Museum of Television & Radio.

The event kicks off with a breakfast hosted by Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO Susan Lyne. One-on-one interviews follow, first with NBC Universal chief executive Bob Wright and Omnicom Group CEO John Wren. The latter session is billed as the Advertising Week Global Conversation.

VIPs will toast advertising and social impact at Monday’s opening gala in Bryant Park, and youthful types will later head to Times Square for AOL’s Amp’d Up music show featuring rap duo Gnarls Barkley, with CBS Radio comedian Adam Carolla hosting. “Young people are a vitally important part of the business,” said Drake, adding, “And we know they like to party.”

The week’s other highlights include CBS Radio Radical Connections keynotes with Facebook’s Mike Murphy, Tribal DDB’s Matt Freeman,’s Jon Kamen and (invited) environmental lawyer and Air America Radio co-host Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Noon keynoters for the Panasonic Ideas for Life series include Dr. Jeffrey Sachs of the Columbia Earth Institute and UN Millennium Project; Joanne Bradford, MSN vp and chief media revenue officer; and Mario D’Amico, CMO of Cirque de Soleil.

Panels presented through the USA Today Pulse of America series tackle issues ranging from financial news to sports, with a lineup that includes luminaries from Yahoo, the National Basketball Association and Panasonic, as well as Ron Berger, CEO of Euro RSCG and chairman of the Advertising Week board.

While core programming is provided by Advertising Week, 24 of the events come by way of two partnerships: the 33 advertising and media trade groups that comprise the Organizing Committee and the media outlets conjoined as Media Partners (including Adweek and other VNU magazine titles). AICP and AMP, while part of the Organizing Committee, are considered full partners alongside Advertising Week. Five corporate partners are behind additional content, including news flashes on ad research.

Friday afternoon features the popular parade of advertising icons.