Access to the Internet makes you more inclined to be involved with voluntary groups or organizations, says research from Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Some 80% of Internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-Internet users. Social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants. By that measure, I am talking to the right folks in the right place at the right time.
The advertising and media industries are no different from every other industry, where the selling process includes a fair amount of explicit or implied criticism of one's competition, and a tendency to gloss over your own product's or service's shortcomings. In an effort to yank ad dollars away from TV and print, the online industry has relentlessly pounded on media that are not interactive, measureable and quick to present an ecommerce opportunity right after your ad runs. Ad agencies are notorious for trash-talking about the ineptitude of senior execs at other agencies, or expounding on why a competitive agency lost a big account.
While there is a veneer of statesmanship about another's gains and losses, there is also a high dose of schadenfreude or outright glee. The pervasiveness of electronic media that allows instant, anonymous, often thoughtless and at times, savage responses to news stories and blogs that mention competitors, has only served to lower the general level of civility.
And so it is a rare and wonderful moment when the usual day-to-day acrimony is put aside, and players in the ad and media businesses join together in unity to fight breast cancer, a scourge that has touched nearly everyone in this business directly or through family, friends or colleagues. That moment is the 2nd Annual ING Bowling for Breastcancer.org fundraiser on Feb.16, to be held at Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge in Manhattan from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Look at the range of diverse companies that have signed up to help underwrite the event, most taking a lane or two: Adap.tv, Ad Age, AOL, Aperture, Arbitron, BIZO, Casale Media, CBS Interactive, Collective Media, Comcast, comScore, Cox Digital Solutions, Cynopsis, Datran, DMG: Events, Discovery Communications LLC, Electronic Arts, eMarketer, Fox Broadcasting, Hallmark Channel, Health Central, Image Space Media, ING, Laredo Group, Lotame, MedHelp.org, MediaIQ, MediaLink LLC, MRI, National Geographic, NBC Universal, The New York Times, Nielsen, Pandora, Rainbow Media, SQAD, Time, Inc., Tremor Media, Turner Broadcasting, Univision, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, 24/7 Real Media and 212NYC.org.
The plan is for each sponsor to invite their colleagues and perhaps clients to join them for heavy hors d'oeuvres, an open bar, bowling, billiards, and a silent auction. If anyone can keep their team sober and focused long enough, somebody will win the coveted bowling pin trophy, something that would look nice on a shelf next to a Golden Lion, a Clio, a Webby or even a plaque from Always On.
If you saw your company on the sponsor list, find out who is organizing the teams and demand you be allowed to break out your vintage '50s bowling shirt and show the rest of industry you can hit that 7-10 split -- or sink the five and the eight in the same shot on a pool table.
Can't attend because you can't stand to miss an episode of "Glee," and your DVR is broken? Then go to www.breastcancer.org/nycbowling and make a donation -- or better yet, buy a bunch of tickets and hand them out to your pals. They will thank you after having a hell of a good time (and who knows, for maybe enabling them to make a valuable contact for future business).
If you are in this business, you need to lend a hand. Every $10 counts. As Everett Dirksen once said, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money."