Just An Online Minute... Cupid Puts PR In A Headlock
I Heart PRNewser Party, Aspen, New York
February 10, 2009
Valentine's Week is so much fun, always. It's a sociologist's dream, a chocolate fondue pot of attitudes. You've got the anti-Valentine, who's either full of sour grapes or thinks it's a Hallmark sham holiday (this person usually sucks at creative gift-giving on all levels or is single pretending not to be bitter about it)(P.S., I was the latter for quite some time); you've got the celebratory anti-Valentine who takes the opportunity to throw down all over town with their cronies, probably hooting at handholding couples and possibly honking or waking up in a mystery location as the sun rises; you've got the lovestruck sweethearts celebrating their shared bond (honk!); and the aged couples taking this opportunity in their busy lives to remember the reasons they fell in love in the first place. And then you've got PR, digital ad agencies, advertypes, and everyone else in our industry making money and contacts off of a theme. Ain't no shame in the game.
Fresh from the social media panel at "Fleishman Hillard: When Social Media Becomes Unsociable," my brain was ready to unwind at the "I Heart PRNewser" party, a lovely celebration of the romance of PR and target practice for Cupid. Oh, that's right; Joe Ciarallo and Jason Chupick, Editors of PRNewser, went there -- they asked guests to bring one single pal in the name of love. Lubing the tunnel were delectable Happy Hour specials (or as we say in Ohio, the normal price of a freakin' beer) with $4 drafts and $5 Sangria (Danger! Danger, WIll Robinson!). I saw lots of big smiles and even bigger drinks skiing through Aspen, a cozy joint all covered in wood. The front room was a hibernation spot reserved for warm-up shots in between hitting the slopes. The fire pit in the back, a more "formal" dining area, was puffing out the most delicious smell. My brain kept thinking I was in Canada, which made me look for Rocky Raccoon, that little guy I used to feed marshmallows.
Looking for people, not marshmallows, was Ben Hindman, Events Manager at Thrillist. He's been on the job for only a couple of weeks and asked me to introduce him to someone cool. I looked around and spied Matt Biscuiti from Lippin Group and played matchmaker. I spied Andrew Graham at the entrance, who echoed my sentiments that the bartender at the Social Happy Digital Hour last Friday had a heavy hand. When Andrew ran off to dump his coat and get a drink, I eyeballed the always lovely Tiffany Winbush, who was holding down the fort with Laura Keefe, Public Relations Manager at Associated Content (and I had just met her the social media panel), and Melanie Notkin, founder of SavvyAuntie.com. While conflicted about the intentions of the ShortyAwards, Melanie told me she may still make it, though it might be late.
I interrupted Jason Chupick and Peter Himler, who had participated on the just-ended social media panel. Peter and I rehashed the panel and he asked if I was offended when he said "I only follow people on Twitter with a real first and last name." I told him that I did roll my eyes. But really, everyone has different filters and definitions of noise. I shot my professional relationship arrow into Peter in the form of Josh Sternberg, who showed up, scruffy beard in tow, proclaiming "I'm not planning on staying long." Famous last words, big fella. Later on I saw a love match between Sternberg and Joe Ciarallo as they arranged a possible playdate to "jam" together. David Bradfield of Fleishman Hillard Digital (and the moderator from the panel) was also there, sipping on a brew under the luminescence of a milky opaque deer head.
Tatiana Ridley from mediabistro gushed about her love for Oliver, her Chihuahua, who harbors a fear of cats. The official photog for mediabistro that night, George... I think, gushed about his blue-tip Persian cat, who as we now know, could kick Oliver's butt. I did run into single +1s, whom I could identify by affiliation-less nametags (because the rest of us seem to want you to know what we do). I asked one guy what his type was so I could run the obstacle course for him. "Um... willing?" was his only criteria. He was dead serious.
Rob Manfredo, of KCSA, finally affirmed for me that he isn't just a Twitter avatar, he really exists! We talked about relationships (he WORKS with his lady love!) and all that fun balancing in between. While rambling, I noticed Paul Clark, Animator at Animation Collective ,chilling out by himself. Animators rock; illustration and animation are skills I covet with a vengeance. Yes, as you guessed, the usual circuit runners mingled in with some new faces, including Lourdes Del Valle, no affiliation; John Stangl, Credit Analyst at Bank Leumi, USA; Christine Amogan of Precise Effect; Danielle Nuzzo, Senior Account Executive at Porter Novelli; Angelica Rozewicz, Senior Manager, Product Development at Media Whiz (who gave me her personal email address, cell, and AIM id). I very briefly saw Flavie Bagnol, Director of Communications for Thrillist, weave through and then disappear into the night like a wild gazelle.
I had to save the best for last. Frani Lieberman made my night by dropping a shiny red bag into my hands (and Jason Chupick's). Inside was a "stadium blanket," an apron (for grilling), and not just one bottle of Frank's Red Hot, but two -- one being the official buffalo wing sauce. Both Jason and I "put that @#$% on anything," so both of us were pleased as all hell.
I found love in the bottom of a Frank's Red Hot bottle, did you?