I was invited to the Eyeblaster Awards way back in October right after OMMA Global New York. Promised with the orange carpet experience (sounds very LSD related) was VIP status for all press, which translates into a special VIP hour from 8 to 9 p.m., complete with line jumping, special section access, and first dibs on open bar and hors d'oeuvres.
Let's pause for a minute and discuss VIP. I (we!) know better. VIP is nothing more than the sales/event/PR attempt to make press think the party/company host loooves bloggers/press OR that you the guest are super special so you should totally come and see the other REALLY special guests (even though everyone on the list is VIP). I know that you know that I know that we know this. And, if we (everyone does it) are going to use such fluffy terminology, let's be honest about what it entails and make sure it's communicated up and down the line so that when our "VIP"s show up, they're on the list, they're marked as VIP, and their double confirmed +1 is also noted. Instead of being told to bypass the line, my +1, Chris Masagatani of eRoi, was asked to go to the end of the now lengthy queue to get his badge printed out. Someone FINALLY made the executive decision to just print it out ahead of the others so neither of had to wait any longer. Another great idea would be to have all staff on board so they can show VIPs the VIP section instead of shrugging with ambivalence.
I really should have been prepared, considering two days after my confirmation from Mortar PR I received an email from Eyeblaster asking if I was planning to attend. Orange flags should have gone up. The show was held at Arena, whose web site is ridiculous. "What happens at Arena stays at Arena"?! Oy. Their photographer made it look gaudy and glamorous, like that commercial for the wedding of your dreams (chandeliers!). Before checking it out with my own eyeballs, I had to make it through check-in which, despite the list/not-enough-VIP-ribbons to-go-around irritation, was relatively painless and the girls were politely accomodating.
I stepped into the event space and saw two bars on either side of the dance floor. Elevated by a few stairs was what I assumed to be one of the VIP sections. There was another closer to the ceiling, but not facing the stage, oddly. When I asked the big dude in front of the stairs for confirmation, he shrugged -- and up we went. No one up there had little orange ribbons. There was no food. And there was no special drink service, all things that I expected from the confirmation email.
Maybe the only special piece was not waiting in line, which is always a plus and really, the open bar was easy to get to, so that was another plus. I think everyone was just there to get blasted (not in the eyes) because the place was filled with boiserous digital media drunkenness on varying levels. I blinded John Leone of Greater Than One with my camera as he walked in, tweeting @ me that he had just arrived. Leaning on Dan Vassallo, also of Greater Than One, he groaned "Duuuuude, where is the food?" I could only shrug hungrily. Corey Kronengold from Tremor Media hadn't seen any food, either, as he stood with Erik Koppleman of IAC. Erik had a flair for the F-word -- and I'm pretty sure if you took each one out of his sentence you'd be left with a bunch of gorp.
I had only missed half an hour of open bar, but from the look of things, I missed the pre-party. Burst Media's Kevin Sullivan, Ryan Gould, and Catherine [last name MIA!] and Tremor Media's Ryan Ricci were getting righteous with Initiative's Steve Indich, who was planning to set the dance floor on fire.
Up in the possible VIP section sat Juan Cano from the The Kaplan Thaler Group and some folks from Digitas. Jennifer Hartwick, Interactive Assistant Media Planner was mingling around with the Deutsch crew -- AND I ran into Justin Sumler, also from Deutsch, who was snapped with Perez Hilton at the One Night In NYC pre-party. I grabbed a shot of a curly-mohawked fellow from RawToast Design, thinking I could zoom in later and get his and his friend's names, but of course it came out blurry. Eric Matlick and Ryan Murphy from Madison Logic, Melissa Mccarter from GWT, Heather Beier and Tyler Sandler from Eyeblaster looked like they were having a fabulous time. I also have text message confirmation of Persia Tatar of Dogmatic in the house.
What was funny didn't come from the stage, but from the incredibly drunk and unintelligibly slurring fellow from the land of SEO. Masagatani and I were goofing back and forth about search, marketing, and strategy (like nerds) and the guy stared and said his one clear statement of the evening: "I'm not going to deny the bulls@#t that is my industry." Yowza.
Oh hey, thanks to ClickZ for the opportunity to win a Wii. Who won that thing anyway, and can I have it?
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