Posts tagged Advertising

Paving the Way to a New Digital Age…Without Lunch

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I work in advertising, specifically buying it online. Yes, when you see ads on some website there is a chance that I bought that ad on behalf of a client in an effort to reach you to get you to buy their product. Don’t hate me. As with most industries, there are conferences and panel discussions and other events where people with similar or fancier job titles get together and talk about where the business is and what they think or hope it will become in the future. I’ve been to a few of these in the past, mostly from the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) which I thought were all pretty interesting and fulfilling, not to mention that there was always food. Some colleagues and I were invited to the Digital Publishing & Advertising Conference today in NYC by a company that we want to do business with. Full disclosure: The invitations allowed us to attend the event free of charge, bypassing the $700 fee.

The agenda for this event was heavy. There were quite a few presentations and discussions going on with little time in between. I thought this was fine as it would keep things moving and hopefully keep me interested. Unfortunately things were running a bit late right when we got there a little after 8 AM. There was some discussion going on when we arrived but there were no seats available. We looked around but didn’t see any so we stood awkwardly and ate the mini-muffins and/or bagels that were provided while trying to stay out of people’s way as they walked in and out of the theater. It wasn’t until 8:45 when the keynote started and the speaker said something about how she was pleased to see all the people on the balcony and mezzanine levels that we found out there were more seats. There was no indication that there were more levels or if there were seats up there despite employees of the conference walking around.

After we found a place to sit we went through a few panels. I quickly found that although the conference was for digital publishing and advertising, it was clearly more about the publishing side of things. As a result I wasn’t as into the content as I could have been since I work on the advertising end of things. There was a break around 11 where we could have split into different areas. There was a brunch upstairs with another presentation so we made our way up to check that out. Unfortunately for us, we were sent away because it was a limited engagement. We literally waited on line and got right up to where the food was and were turned away. Ouch.

So we made our way downstairs and asked about other food. Here’s the part that confuses and frustrates me. Apparently lunch wasn’t included in this engagement. Or rather, it was if you paid for it to the tune of $90. As I mentioned above, we received comp passes to the event and I’m not saying that I deserve lunch or anything all high and mighty. I’m confused because we were invited to the event which had a very packed schedule (the amount of time allotted for people to pick up the $90 boxed lunch was 10 minutes) and there was a panel entitled “Lunch N Learn.” So now we’re basically forced to leave the conference we were invited to in order to go get food, thus missing various panels and discussions. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if there was an actual lunch break of at least a half hour which would allow for one to run out and pick something up. The event just plowed right through lunch and wasn’t looking back. This just boggled my mind.

I shared my thoughts on Twitter which was met with some harsh words from other attendees. I know that my own tweet was harsh but the whole point of conferences like this is to get a bunch of people together and talk in a comfortable environment. The food situation removed the comfortable part of that scenario for me.

In addition to the food issues, the booth set up was squished with the vendors pushing into the already limited walking space so things were pretty tight. This whole event felt amateurish and was a completely different experience than what I’ve seen during the other conferences and panel discussions that I’ve been to in the past. If anything it makes me appreciate those other events more as they show how organized and well-done they are compared to this one.

Also, when we went outside to find a place to eat we saw Neil Patrick Harris walk by. That and the chili cheeseburger I ate almost made up for the whole day.

Out to the Ballgame

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I work in advertising and I’ll admit that sometimes it has its perks. Last week I got another of them in the form of tickets to a Yankee game. I went with a rep from a site we worth with as well as a couple co-workers. It was my first Yankee game and my first visit to the new stadium. I’ve only ever been to two baseball games before and both of them were at Shea Stadium. The tickets to both of them were free as well.

I met up with our rep, Jason and co-workers Steve and Eddie at the stadium. It just so happened that at least three other co-workers were at the game. It was a day game too. I forgot to mention that. With the new station at the stadium I was there in twenty minutes by train. Very convenient.

I contemplated what to wear to the game. I had worked from home in the morning and it was supposed to be hot. I ended up going with a t-shirt and jeans thinking that shorts were too casual. Sure enough I show up and Steve and Eddie are both in shorts. Fortunately for me our seats (which were awesome) were in the shade provided by the level above us.

Taken from my BlackBerry

The game was entertaining despite the fact that I got lost quite a few times. Stuff happens in baseball that I just don’t understand sometimes. The crowd would suddenly start cheering and I would have no idea why. Our view of the scoreboard was blocked by the level above us so I couldn’t see some of the stats that were displayed there. Also, I can see why people say that baseball is boring. If I were watching a game on TV I would be bored as hell. Between pitches the stadium tries to keep the crowd pumped by constantly asking them to make some noise or playing a variety of snippets from songs.

The food was also amazing. Yes, I had some Cracker Jack but I also had a cheese steak which was pretty damn good. I didn’t have a hot dog, but I got over that pretty quickly. One thing that I thought was a little annoying was that we had to show our tickets to an usher every time we went to sit down. So if I got up to go to the bathroom I had to whip out my ticket in order to get down to my seats even if I just walked by the guy. I guess it’s to prevent people from buying the cheap seats and then making their way down to the more expensive areas. I don’t see why this is the case though because there were a ton of empty seats all over the place. Let the people move down!

There were also a group of annoying European guys that sat in the row in front of us. You can see one of their greasy slicked back haircuts in the bottom right hand corner of the picture above. This guy was filming the game for long periods of time and was pretty blatant about it despite video cameras being prohibited at the stadium. Towards the end of the game one of the ushers asked him to put the camera away and he flipped out on him, cursing him in some foreign language and claiming that he was only taking pictures. Dude, you were caught. Just deal with it. At least he didn’t throw you out. Of course, right after the usher left he took the camera out again.

I was the only one in our group to stay until the end of the game. I can understand people wanting to avoid traffic but if you come to a baseball game, stay until the end! You don’t even know who won if you leave two innings before it’s over. All in all, I had a great time. I checked my BlackBerry quite a few times during the game but there were no urgent matters that I couldn’t take care of through that device. Now to wait until I get more free tickets so I can go again.

Monica Thought This Was Funny

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I happen to agree with her.

She spotted this at work a few weeks ago and asked me to post it here. I kept forgetting but here it is now in all its glory. It’s an ad for W.B. Mason, a large office supply retailer in the northeast U.S.. Their logo has an old timey looking guy with a mustache. They’ve updated that look for the ad. Look at how this pale fellow sparkles. He’s so clean! How did he get so clean? By using products purchased from W.B. Mason of course!

James and the Big City: Part 2 – Electric Boogaloo

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So it’s a bit later than I thought I’d be writing this but at least I’m not taking months to write about a vacation I took 8 months ago. The day after I drove into the city for the A&E upfront presentation, I found myself driving down there once again. This time it was for a panel discussion hosted by Collective, which is an online ad network that we’ve used on a few campaigns. I looped Rob into this as well because it seemed like something he’d be interested in.

I left work a little early and got down there at least a half hour before the event was supposed to start. I got to the building and walked around. It was in Columbus Circle so I considered taking a quick stroll through Central Park but Rob was on his way to meet me so I didn’t have the chance. We walked by the shops for a little bit and killed enough time to arrive at the event around the start time.

This was held at 10 on the Park which is this swanky little place near or in the Time Warner building. The whole floor was decked out with the Collective logo, but in a classy way, not like with a bunch of stickers or something. I enjoyed a handful of appetizers and did not enjoy a few others while talking with Rob, our reps at Collective and a few other people. My one complaint was that the panel didn’t start up right away. We got there at 6:30 but the panel didn’t start until 8. What am I supposed to do for an hour and a half? Network? I can only eat so many appetizers!

The panel started just after I tried to eat this appetizer that consisted of spiced beef in a little tortilla shell and broke the tortilla, sending the beef everywhere including into my soda. Mmmm…beef soda. It was actually a really interesting panel discussion about the future of display advertising. I don’t talk much about it here, but the Internet ad space is an ever changing, Wild West-like area where success metrics are constantly evolving but still not completely where everyone wants them. There’s really no “ratings” in the online world like there are for radio and TV. The discussion talked about how the space is changing and where the panelists thought it would go.

After the discussion wrapped up around 9, Rob and I chatted with some reps for a little while. The waiters were walking around with these tiny muffin-like baked goods in a variety of flavors like mint chocolate chip and confetti. I must have eaten at least 10 of them. There were also cookies that could have doubled as coasters due to how hard they were.

After about an hour, I said my goodbyes and head home. I got back to the apartment around 11. On the way back I realized that even though I had seen Monica before and after I got home the day before and during the day, I actually missed her a lot. Yeah, that sounds totally cheesy and stuff, but hey, I’m marrying her for a reason, yo

Upfront Presentations? Fun Gifts, But Waste of Time

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I work in the advertising business, specifically the buying of advertising on websites. I’ve been sitting in on a lot of presentations lately and I’ve found that the advertising world is very different in Television compared to Online. I’ve been involved with a ton of meetings and presentations from reps for various websites and they’re all a little different, but they all get to the point pretty quickly. Television is an entirely different animal though. I don’t know if it’s just because they’ve been doing the same thing for all these years or what, but there’s just so much wasted time there. Every other presentation has to be accompanied by lunch, like the vendor is paying for our attention while they show us a long drawn out slideshow filled with info on their upcoming programs and ideas. BOR-RING!

syfyCase in point, I sat in on the upfront presentation from SyFy a few weeks ago. While their PowerPoint presentation was rather impressive and filled with a lot of information, I forgot about most of it the moment I walked out of the conference room. The online stuff (the info that was actually important to me) was among the lost info because it was glazed over so quickly and it was treated like the red-headed step-child of the TV presentation. Oh yeah, we have websites or whatever and I guess you can buy advertising on them or not. Hey, remember when we had Battlestar Galactica? I do remember that, sir. But what have you done for me lately? Oh, thanks for the webcam though (Seriously, I’ve already got one of these, so if you want a webcam, let me know.) (more…)

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