SocialVibe's Social Happy Digital Hour Holiday Style, The Hill, New York
December 18, 2009
The best way to describe the SocialVibe Social Digital Happy Hour -- or the Happy Social Digital Hour hosted by President Joe Marchese, featuring the SocialVibe crew is, well, fratty. But not in the "we'll sleep with your girlfriend and maybe your hot mom while she's in town and oh, how do you feel about constant spanking with wooden paddles on the weekend and oh, that's totally normal, hang on I have to throw up from doing a keg stand for breakfast" way. No, no, I'm talking about the guys who volunteer with kid's charities, take your mom out for lunch in an appropriate way, and drink responsibly -- while getting you a beverage first. I mean really, how many networking happy hours have you gone to where the argument between the validity of digital vs. traditional is nearly settled in a beer-chugging contest?
Last Friday, time creeped slowly as 5:15 p.m. (happy hour start time indicated on the Pingg invitation, AHEM) seemed just out of reach. And, even though I dragged my feet on the way to The Hill, where the fratmosphere comes built in, I was the first to arrive and discover the open bar didn't even start until 6:00p.m. No enamel off my tooth, I got some private catch up time with Joe Marchese, who I found texting away in the back of the bar. Slowly but surely, after Joe and I caught up a bit, the place began to fill.
Like any SocialVibe gathering, if the main goal was network- building and chasing down that lead, it wasn't overt. Everyone just grabbed a drink, flopped their coats over chairs and booths, and settled in to debate the snowstorm prediction accuracy and to ponder, "Did I just see Joe Marchese doing the 'put a ring on it' dance?" I think I did. Carrot Creative's tag team of Katy Kelley and Mike Germano arrived quietly. I kid. If you've met Mike Germano or seen him on a panel, you know the guy is the antithesis of quiet. We debated the staying power of the fist-bump, which, sorry President Obama, I'm now over. Bring back the high-five! Germano and I created the fist implosion/phoenix rising handshake, which I'll be happy to show you next time we see each other.
A new burst of cold air puffed through The Hill as Matt Caldecutt of Trylon SMR lumbered in, geeked up for the Caldecutt family holidays and some much-needed time off from the industry party circuit. 360i's Karen Ram appeared, thank goodness, otherwise no one would have started the food line with me. Yup, Marchese supplied his digital pals with chafing dishes of tasty green beans, chubby gnocchi, sliced beef situation, and what Karen, in the spirit of Hanukah, dubbed "potato kugel," but was really potato gratin. There was also a leafy Caesar salad. Yum!
Toby Daniels, Cofounder & Director at ThinkSocial, joined the crowd and I'm not going to quote him because I think he's 10 seconds away from a restraining order against me, saying "Somehow you remember everything I say." Crap, see, I can't help it. One of my favorites, Tim Smith, East Coast VP of Sales for SocialVibe came as well - this time with wife Emily Smith, sales exec on the Google Travel Team. Google Travel Team sounds like lots of gym bags and tear-away warm-ups. David Cooperstein, VP, Research Director at Forrester Research, was there, too, with another Forrester. I also met Suejin Yang from MTV and new East Coast Director of Ad Sales, SocialVibe, Dana Drazin.
As I was telling Chad Stoller, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy at BBDO (wearing his Ignignokt T-shirt...Aqua Teen Hunger Force, anyone?) and Katie Welch, of Weber Shanwick, about my early days of community-building (my stuffed animals organized a Jaws club, meeting every week, complete with newsletter. Odd that I've been the newsletter writer in every single job I've ever had...) I saw the pink ears of Ian Schafer enter The Hill. Within seconds of me accosting him about said ears, Ian whipped out his iPhone proclaiming slyly, "I have to take this call." I want to say that someday, but when I do, I want eight people with notepads to scurry after me when I stalk off.
Agent 16's Jenean Chapman arrived and eventually grabbed Ian's ear for what looked like a very serious conversation. What wasn't serious was the action behind them -- a hubbub, if you will, with John Halvorson, Global SVP of Starcom, and Mike Germano barreling through the crowd with a pint of beer each. Joe Marchese burbled something that that shot of Jameson with Stoller made a liiiitle hard to understand, but needless to say, we could infer that there was now going to be a chugging contest. Germano lost. And with the loss came a muffled proclamation from Joe, holding the victor's hand in the air (I'm still amazed at how quickly he sucked that down), that traditional media is still powerful. Or at least very thirsty.