Spring Ahead With the Advertising Club, Sidebar, New York
April 7, 2009
I've walked by Sidebar a bunch of times and usually find myself thrusting through bodies of yuppie types spilling out onto the sidewalk to take a smoke break between innings or quarters. Did I think I'd find myself there for an industry event? Never! It just seems so generic sportsbar-y. The organizers of "Spring Ahead: The Ad Club Networking Cocktail Party" had better foresight than I! So come on, stop looking at the stupid snow (yup, we had a little flake-fest here in NYC this morning) and pop into Sidebar to peek into the world of networking advertypes. Muahahahaa....
The Ad Club lined up fantastic drink specials -- two for one mojitos, margaritas, three buck Bud Lights and more. Lubing up the brain always numbs the sting of exuberant palm-squeezing. Literally, at the stroke of 5:30 p.m., the guests started pouring in. I expected a subdued crowd drowning in smart suits and neckerchiefs, but the theme of last night must have been "prove Kelly wrong" because with every turn I met another laid-back cluster. The first group I intruded upon was settling into a settee (or banquette?) and double-fisting mojitos. "Yeah, the bartender said it's better to just get both at the same time," explained Jeff Greenhouse, President of Singularity, whose business card has the cutest little guy on it. I suppose that's why he's in design. Jeff was joined by Crystal Jiang, Associate Manager, Online Marketing for McGraw Hill Professional, and her colleague Joseph Morita, Editor, McGraw-Hill Medical.
Leaving the mojito maestros to their mint, I ran into Jaime Alger of OwnerIQ. Believe it or not, she was telling Allan Kolstein of the Women's Leadership Exchange about the space thump (she first mentioned it at this party)! Allan brought up a good point: maybe we're hearing something that started millions of years ago, but is ready to happen right now. Jaime is one of those people you feel like you've known forever. It's like shooting the boot with a kindergarten pal. We were dissecting the prominence of alcohol in our industry and how's you're always the odd man out if you're sipping on a soda water no matter what anyone says. IT's almost as if non-drinking makes drinkers uncomfortable. I ruminated on this while I sipped my $8 Pinot Grigio.
Speaking of Pinot Grigio, I popped over to the bar and met Troy Allen of Conversation, an agency that is helping companies appropriately engage consumers through social channels. "We've done for clients what steroids have done for baseball (but in a good way)," Troy summarized with pop culture relevancy. Troy was belly up at the bar with Richard ____, whose last name and information lay irretrievable in a really mushy section of my gray blob.
Oh! I almost forgot one of my favorite moments of the night! I met Victoria Rich and Jennifer Duman. Both are Strategic Alliance Managers at Rackspace. "Oh! I know about Rackspace! I'm always losing business cards when I don't have pockets -- I end up stashing them all over my body..." I stopped due to the physical cues of confusion they were giving me: sideways looks at each other, smiles that were twitching a little. Why were they confused? Probably because they represented Rackspace, a hosting solution, not Racktrap, a sneaky little bra pocket that I covet. They were very kind and I may have turned them onto Racktrap, you're welcome.
Magazine land was probably the most diversely represented with Emin Kadi, Publisher/Creative Director at Clear Magazine (with a clear x-ray-like business card), Meg Smith from Playboy (who made a world's colliding pair with Stevie Sharp-Jones of ABC Family Network), and Ken Lipka from Boy's Life. I gushed to Ken that I used to be a big Ranger Rick reader, for whatever that's worth. I think I wanted to be a raccoon in my youth. The Boy's Life Web site is so fun - I poked at the emergency quiz to keep on top of things should an accident befall an advertype and I'm the only dork around. And here's a little tidbit you may not know - MediaPost's own Joe Mandese is an adult leader type with the Boy Scouts (his son is a Scout). Imagine being in the woods, off the grid, with a group of youngsters leading the excursion. That's what my nightmares are made of.
Speaking of accidents, I never would have known that LinkedIn now allows commenting on status updates if it wasn't for Ethan Simblist, Chief Consultant at Simblist Consulting. I'm irked enough that LinkedIn is straying from its simple straight business look and feel (so there is no confusion on what's appropriate to post or not) and bowing under the Facebook pressure. Yes, Facebook has limitless buckets of bookers, but that doesn't mean their design and behavior needs to be copied. Before you know it, some cotton-brained weirdo is going to get fired for posting photos of that goat/hazing incident to their LinkedIn profile. But seriously folks, if you have a chance to get a conversation in with Ethan, you'll enjoy it, he's one of those call-it-as-you-see-it types. Melissa Greenberg, Account Executive at DailyCandy, popped in for a hello, and I left her with Ethan to introduce myself to Robb Hecht of IMC Strategy Lab. He was taking advantage of the drink specials with Tony Andrade, Online Ad sales Account Manager at Investor's Business Daily. Adams Outdoor Advertising's Herb Yost loomed over the crowd as he caught up with Peter Bopp of the Leadership Strategy Group.
I don't think I ate anything, but I'm not sure if that means there wasn't food -- I simply didn't notice because I was gabbing so much. This was a talkative, open group. Not one person slapped away the camera, and I think I hit sense-of-humor paydirt. And, ATTENTION JONAH BLOOM: even though Ad Age had no room for me on your Advertising Age Digital Conference press list (what, did our bonding over cameras mean nothing? *Sniffle*), everyone at the party last night seemed to think I was with you guys. I heard "I can't wait to see myself in Ad Age" and "Uh oh, now you're going to be inAd Age!" nearly every time I shot a new victim. After the eighth time I stopped correcting them that it's just litl' ole MediaPost. And by "litl' ole" I mean AWESOME.
Invite firstname.lastname@example.org to your media, marketing, advertising shindig and prove me wrong again!