4A's Combine Conferences, But Delay Date
In April, 4A's CEO Nancy Hill announced that the two annual conferences would become a single event, with Austin as the locale in 2010. But the 4A's was not able to find workable dates -- March is routine -- or space options in Austin, and is now targeting the Texas capital for 2011.
A decision on the setting for next year's combined conference is coming, perhaps around Labor Day. Like Austin, the site is not expected to be a tourist-heavy city.
4A's Chairman Tom Carroll was a driving force behind the Austin selection, partly to try and reduce any perception that either event was a boondoggle. Austin also is a mid-continent destination that could attract more West Coast-based attendees. Plus, it has a different vibe than, say, Orlando -- known as a high-tech hub, and dovetailing with an ad industry looking to stay a step ahead.
Hill advocated for combining the media and leadership events, partly on grounds that a de facto re-bundling of media planning and creative tactics is taking place. Cost savings could also result.
The media conference is a top moneymaker for the 4A's, attracting well over 1,000 attendees routinely, although that fell to perhaps 800 this year. The recession caused the leadership event's attendance to fall from 375 in 2008 to 300 this April in San Francisco.
The leadership event, attended mostly by top agency executives, was known as the annual management conference, before a re-branding several years ago.