Roger Ailes, Barry Diller & The Squawk Box Super Heroes

1003_mockup.gifHail! Hail! The Wednesday gang is all here. The lunch scene at Michael’s was firing on all cylinders today as moguls (Barry Diller! Roger Ailes!), high-profile editors (David Zinczenko, Cindi Leive) and a heaping helping of talking heads (Kathie Lee Gifford, Ashleigh Banfield, Joe Kernen, Larry Kudlow and Andrew Ross Sorkin) made for a tasty media stew. There was actually gridlock in the dining room as the famous and fabulous stood in the aisles to intercept friends (and possible future employers?) on their way to their tables.

The biggest crowd was circling around Table One where Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller and Gerry Byrne (who is on parent company Penske Media Corp’s board) were hosting their monthly lunch where they bring together an interesting mix of folk to “cross-pollinate” says Bonnie, who leads the group as they chew over the latest trends in media (particularly in the digital space) and weigh in on how it affects their respective businesses. Gerry was the lone man among a table full of opinionated, highly successful women who weighed in on everything from reality stars — we learned Ashleigh Banfield is more than a little obsessed with the Kardashian sisters — to intellectual property. Designer Heather Thomson told the group that she spent $2.5 million in a lawsuit against lingerie giant Maidenform when she charged them with copying her patented three-panel tank top. She was awarded $6.57 million as settlement. Her takeaway: “Innovation needs to be protected.”

Leading the cheer for all that is digital, Bonnie said, “I’m so happy I crossed over from print” and is hooked by the immediacy of it all. “As a magazine editor, I felt like I was having a one-way conversation so much of the time,” she said of her stints as editor- in-chief at Glamour, Us Weekly and Cosmo. “At Hollywoodlife.com, we are intensely focused on our relationships with women with a need to know about the things they are about right now.”  Bonnie says the site is now getting 4.7 million monthly uniques who come to get their fix on everything concerning Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Justin Bieber and the Kardashian sisters.

Michael's restaurant NYC
The gang at Table One

The liveliest part of the conversation came when the group weighed in on how to keep up with the head spinning rate of changes occurring online as it relates to reaching consumers and turning clicks into sales. Nicole Miller said she has staffers who manage her blog, Facebook page and Twitter account, and she is currently developing a Nicole Miller app. Shenan Reed, who founded digital ad agency Morpheus Media a decade ago, said, “As a brand, you really have to be everywhere. The idea of going to one place to reach the 18-34 market is over. It’s not about the demographic anymore; it’s about understanding the consumer’s mindset at a particular time.” Shenan’s agency specializes in luxury brands and is responsible for Louis Vuitton’s twitter account. She encourages her clients to think outside the box when planning their online ad schedule: “The old rules don’t apply anymore.”

And that’s not the only thing that’s yesterday’s news. The group agreed that the idea of employer loyalty is over for good. Having had decades of experience running media companies, Gerry explained the best advice he also gives his students at Fordham University: “You have to think like an entrepreneur. The days of working for one company for 20 years are gone. And, if you are working for a company, you have to be the one that comes up with the big ideas and follows through on them.”

1.  Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller, Black Ocean’s Gerry Byrne, Penske Media Corp president Aly Racer, designer Nicole Miller, ABC News’ Ashleigh Banfield, Give Back Beauty’s Noreen Dodge, Iconix CMO Dari Marder and media and marketing director Evernolia Gillespie, Morpheus Media founder Shenan Reed, Relevad Media Group CEO Maryse Thomas, Yummie Tummie founder and designer Heather Thomson, and yours truly.