Just An Online Minute... Dust Off That Straight Jacket, You're Entering The Ad Asylum!

Ad Asylum Launch Reception, O'Casey's, New York
January 13, 2009

Everyone has had a day, or a week, or a month -- hopefully, not a year  -- where they wonder whether the place that keeps them in food and shelter is really a psych ward where the patients are running the show.   And if you haven't, tell me where you are so I can find you, jab my finger at your schnozz and yell "LIAR!!"  Dan Wald upped the grousing ante and wrote a book about it: "Ad Asylum." The story is simple: Agency+difficult client = sometimes painful recognition of just how very twisted this industry is.  Last night Julie Roehm (cue Duran Duran "No.. No... Notorious!"), Marketing Strategy Consultant, hosted the launch party for "Ad Asylum" at O'Casey's, a rumored old haunt of the Daily News crew (if that means anything to you).



As I emerged into the main room from the narrow stairs leading to the party, an aggressive wash of golden blond hair and a powerful smile greeted me, hand thrusting forward as I began removing my hat.  "Welcome! I'm Julie Roehm," she said, driving her hand at each new guest, a smile backed with some heat.  I immediately liked her because it was clear that this woman probably scares the crap out of some people.  I find that to be admirable.

I ducked into the bar, looking for the restroom so I could wipe the hat-induced sweat of my brow and found the door blocked by Josh Glantz of Publishers Clearing House, Eric Friedberg of CFA Promotions, and Al Holmes of Area Interactive. They held their ground in front of the ladies' room for most of the night.  I spotted Dan Wald getting tag-teamed already, his eyes darting from face to face, trying to give his friends, fans, and competitors (the phrase "I have a book proposal out there" echoed throughout the room) equal attention.  While he posed with three guests, I said "Dan, it's Kelly - remember, you called me a slut on Facebook?" which is so fun to say when people don't know the context.

After interrupting Maggie Wells of Burst Media and Gary Elias, "handsome lawyerly type," I came face to face with monstrous mozzarella sticks.  I'm talking monstrous.  I never eat mozz sticks in public, however ,because (oversharing time!) I always choke on the cheese dangling down the back of my throat, and while my eyes water for reasons unknown to my conversation partner, I have to secretly hwarf it back up into my mouth (like extracting a troubled rappeler) lest I die. 

I don't want to die in a networking situation. 

What I will eat, no matter how much oatmeal I consume beforehand as a "don't eat greasy food while covering events" diversionary tactic, is a tasty little cheeseburger.  Especially if it's lounging about on a garlic-oil-dusted crusty bread oval.  Also passed around were crispy chicken fingers  -- "I think," according to one grinning waiter.

This was a fun group, with some speculating their representation in Wald's book. was well represented at the party.  The first gaggle I encountered was manning the dining area outside the bar.  Two others, Kyle Peterson and James Washington, could be found holding up the wall facing the bar.  When Dan Wald isn't exposing your dastardly behavior in his book, he can be found at Joule World Wide.  And I had the pleasure of meeting some of his coworkers.  They were Mike O'Malley, Melinda Toscano, and Maria Lange.

I also met Michael Collins of WPP Mobile, who entertained my excited blathering about having a combo Mobile+Social Media Week.  So many apps.  So much social on mobile.  So much mobile enabling social.  I could go on.  It would be killer.  Michael Collins ran away to catch a train, leaving me to harass Dominic Allen, who at first told me he worked at the United Nations, but then took it back when Benjamin Kennedy of Joule gleefully invaded our quickly becoming stranger conversation.  By the time I backed away from them slowly, I didn't know if I was even telling myself the truth about where I worked.  The question still remains.  Does Dominic work at the United Nations?  Google will know.

I was happy for the break in chatter that came with Julie Roehm taking the podium and introducing Dan Wald.  She quoted Brad Barons of iMedia who called Ad Asylum "the 'Superbad'of our industry."  She admitted that hopefully Dan chose her to host the party because of her talent and "not because I'm the bitch on wheels of a client."

Wald took a break from snarking to sincerely thank his coworkers past and present and his family, who peppered the audience (one even had a disposable camera, clicking away proudly, so cute).  As Dan launched into his intro, his wife audibly took a deep breath, as if channeling some virtual marionette powers, and whispered heavily "slow down."  Dan smiled, breathed, and continued reading a scene from his book that had me chortling with phrases like "brand manager costumes" and "if she makes me follow her on Twitter, I will kill myself," painting the picture of an inappropriate client that he had to get sauced into slumber to avoid fending off her advances.

I wrapped up my night trading subway-inappropriate rumors with John Capone, Executive Editor at MediaPost, Courtney Humiston, MediaPost Contributor, and Eric Schwertzel, Vice President, Business Development, at Netbiscuits.  I have to admit though, one of my favorite run ins has to be Mike Chapman, Editor in Chief at Adweek, who always gives me something to chew on, like last night's Englishman phrase that means "all kinds of drunk": rat-arsed.  Thank you, Matthew -- every interaction is a learning experience.  I challenge you all to use this in a sentence this week, with the week ending on Sunday to give you more opportunity for usage.

Photos are up on Flickr with more to come!

Send those invitations to!

4 comments about "Just An Online Minute... Dust Off That Straight Jacket, You're Entering The Ad Asylum!".
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  1. Lenny Herold, January 14, 2010 at 4:01 p.m.

    Nice meeting you last night (I was "the guy with the earrings," LOL). I'm sure my bosses (first pic above) are going to love the way you captured them. Epic, if I do say so myself.

  2. Kelly Samardak from Shortstack Photography, January 14, 2010 at 4:38 p.m.

    Lenny, you should think of it as good bargaining material for if they ever give you a hard time about your earrings.

  3. Lenny Herold, January 14, 2010 at 4:47 p.m.

    I don't even think they notice them anymore - I've worn them for years. BTW, we were curious - which one of us was the one who "looked like a Leprechaun"? :-) Was it Jeff (the guy with the beard)?

  4. Kelly Samardak from Shortstack Photography, January 15, 2010 at 11:51 a.m.

    man, you guys sound like you had a gossip girl moment after this party!

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