adMarketplace's Spring Dinner
Soho House, NYC
Carrie Cummings here, MediaPost magazine editor, and now your new Online Minute girl. The daytime MediaPost gig keeps me pretty busy, so I won't be able to party and post as frequently as my predecessor, the much-missed Kelly Samardak. But I assure you, dear readers, that my mingling and party hopping will turn you green with envy.
There couldn't have been a better event to start my post with than adMarketplace's Spring Dinner at the Soho House last Thursday. The Spring Agency Dinner is a unique beast in the world of media events due to its billing not as a fundraiser or awards show or even a conference, but as a thank-you to adMarketplace's clients. And is there any other way to thank clients than with a bacchanal in one of the most beautiful spaces in the city?
I arrived at the Soho House a few minutes before the event's 7 p.m. start time in order to take some shots of the fifth-floor library before it was filled with 90 guests ready to enjoy the intimate cocktail hour and dinner. Rich red linens were draped over the tables while tall, dripping candles provided perfect light -- just dim enough to hide the bags under my eyes that usually show up on Thursday evenings. While checking out the table setup, I literally bumped into James Hill, adMarketplace's CEO and chairman, who was quick to offer me a glass of pinot noir (provided by his brother's California vineyard - Phillips Hill Estates) and a warm welcome to the world of search and event coverage.
The library started filling quickly as the guests seemed to corral around the bar for their much needed after-work cocktails. I followed, and was greeted by Sarah Muir, associate search manager at Mindshare. "You're the new Kelly!" she exclaimed, as she introduced me to her Mindshare search colleagues, Kiana Watson and Michaela Tschugguel. Sarah informed me that she had been Kelly's "favorite" as she instinctively posed for a picture and spelled everyone's name for me. I think she is my new favorite now, too. I said goodbye, grabbed another glass of wine and started pacing the room with my camera, hesitant to interrupt what I'm sure were riveting search-related conversations to introduce myself and steal a few pictures.
I found Jill Spanos, adMarketplace's director of marketing, manning the door. I knew Jill would be a good person to follow around to get acquainted with this crowd. She didn't disappoint when she handed me off to Anthony Tsigourakos, director of agency sales, who was largely responsible for the considerable client base who were beginning to find their dinner seats. As I perused the name cards for my own, I ran into Adam Epstein, adMarketplace's president and COO, who was with the VP of revenue, Andries de Villiers. They were looking for their places, as well, and together, we played the three blind mice of the Soho House.
I found my seat at the end of one of the long tables and was relieved to be sitting next to Jill. My relief was short-lived when I saw the menu. I knew I was going to eat everything, all million-and-a-half delicious courses, and I wouldn't be going to the gym the next day. First up: the charcuterie plate. Those amazing cured meats and cheeses mocked my trainer. I was sitting next to Kristine Segrist of MEC who would be my, literally and figuratively, right-hand woman when it came to passing the courses around. I was in a blind haze of meats and olives and too many refilled wine glasses when it was time for beef. The roast was so tender that it practically fell apart when I stuck my fork in it, oozing wonderfully aromatic juiciness that begged to be mopped up with bread (but I controlled myself. It was the Soho House, after all).
My tablemates across from me were Margo McDowell and Alex Stanton, both from Reprise Media. The three of us, along with Jill, were all equally puzzled when it came time for the succotash. Thankfully, a server with an iPhone came to the rescue. Officially, according to Wikipedia, it is dish consisting primarily of corn and lima beans or other shell beans. For the record, it was amazing -- and it officially pushed me over the edge from "food enthusiast" to "straight-up glutton." I decided not to stick around at my seat for dessert, so I got up to mingle with a group held captive by the promise of a cupcaked dessert. I found Kristen Pelotto, Lina Nakata, Sarah Olson and Meghan Trent of OMD/Resolution Media, who agreed that the dinner warranted a large nap.
As the servers began to clear the tables, I thought that the guests would go quietly into that dark (and rainy) night. Wrong. Cocktail Hour: Part Deux began. The bar stayed open and tequila shots started flying. Business cards were no longer being passed out, introductions were over, and it was time to be friends. It was at this time that my notes start to slur and the pictures are upside down and blurry - probably for the best, as to protect the innocent (guilty). I do know one thing - adMarketplace will always have a special place in this blogger's heart (or new liver, as the case may be.) What a way to kick off the new Online Minute. Here's hoping that future hosts will be as warm and accommodating as James Hill's team.
As I was leaving, I saw Sarah Muir again who, while refraining from the tequila shots, gave me the title of the Facebook extension of Just an Online Minute - Just an Online Carrie. Go check it out for more pictures from this event.