Monday, June 15, 2009

Ad People Pull Together in Tough Times

When I was in New York in late March, I attended two advertising events that strained in different directions as if they were Dr. Doolittles pushmepullyous.

The first was held at a beautiful glassed-in meeting room at the New York Times that honored the 2009 inductees to American Advertising Association's Hall of Fame. This first event was a reception in a beautiful setting (the sun was setting slowly over Manhattan in winter and the renzo Piano glass box that is the NYT headquarters never looked better). I got nice wine and canapes plus a chance to meet and talk with some of 2009's - as well as past HoF - honorees.

These are all people who've been good for advertising and who advertising has been extremely good to (read $).

After 90 minutes among the elite I hailed a cab and went further downtown for an event in an Irish-themed bar on 3rd Avenue sponsored by AdAge "honoring" ad people who had been laid off in the current economic downturn. It was called "This Sucks... Let's Play." The bar was not quite as photogenic as NYT, nor was the event as festive.

These are all people who've been good to Advertising but who advertising has NOT been extremely good to, but had provided a good living, until recently.

I talked to several people who'd been let go before for economic reasons and many of them expressed a desire to finally leave the business and get into something "more stable." A bottom-line loss to the business of advertising.

I knew I'd blog about this sooner or later but didn't really know how to resolve my own conflicts with the two events.

Then, this morning I saw - or rather heard - a resolution. NPR's Morning Edition featured a segment titled "Ad Agency Finds 2 for 1 Deal in Downturn."

As the story states, "Ariel Horn, who runs The Horn Corp., a Manhattan ad agency, has found both a way to help the numerous unemployed ad workers in New York, and a new business model."

Yes, I believe this is what I was looking for.

This may be the business model advertising needs now!

Comments appreciated!

Raising Temperatures With Viral Marketing

Here's a pretty good example of the much-talked-about but misunderstood genre of "viral marketing."

One time Oakland A's batboy Stanley Burrell, known professionally as MC Hammer, was red hot from the late 80s to mid-90s. Since then, his career has gone cold enough to run a Popsicle plant for a week.

Recently Hammer has bathed in the warmth of both a blog and, the hottest thing online, Twitter, the combination of which was just enough to raise some heat at A&E.

Last night the cable network launched a "docu-drama" series called Hammertime, "which," says Online Media Daily, "chronicles the present-day life of '90s mega celebrity and current celebritwit,* MC Hammer."

Here's the story, gold parachute pants and all.

Don't miss the video.

*This is a new word for me. At first reading it seemed pejorative, reminiscent of the classic Monty Python sketch, "Upper Class Twit of the Year."