Not Another Advertising Week Story (Mostly)

If you don't read The Drum, the U.K.'s self-proclaimed "largest marketing website," you should. Otherwise you might have missed this: In an experiment, WiFi hotspots were set up in prominent business districts in London to see how hungry folks were to access the internet. After apparently agreeing to connect -- even though users exposed their personal data such as the contents of their emails -- researchers then added a terms and conditions page, with one of these being that users would give up a child in order to access the Internet. Six users agreed to this condition.

I suspect there are many days during the traumatic, turbulent years of adolescence when parents would like to cashier their kids from the family for a lot less than 15 minutes of unsecured WiFi, but this reminded me of what has been called The World's Biggest Lie: "I have read and agree to your terms and conditions."

Apparently even offering up one of your kids would not have gotten you into one of the many "IMMERSIVE, ACCESSIBLE" but overcrowded "events" that comprised Advertising Week in New York, a festival of simultaneous self-doubt and congratulations featuring personalities only tangentially connected to advertising used as bait to gather audiences so products and services could be subliminally promoted under the guise of "discussions of critical industry issues." But being seen here and there was more important than if you actually learned anything. Besides which, you will have forgotten about 95% of what you heard within a week. But who knows if those contacts might not result in some new business. Or some wasted lunches.



It is a terrible shame that much of what you saw in the way of Main Stage appearances were the result of "sponsorship" payments and not based on the quality of the content or the ability of the speakers to artfully engage either the subject or the audience. But with industry executives falling all over themselves to be picked to appear on the program somewhere, anywhere, it’s not hard to push them into a pay-to-play scheme. While you are sulking in the 20th row that he or she is up there and you are not, remember that they wrote a check that you couldn't or wouldn't afford, is no more a "thought leader" than you are -- and that a week from now, one will care or remember who spoke where and when.

It was a touchy week to be an industry trade reporter, having to get a story out of the same vague responses to the same stunningly redundant questions about data, ad targeting, cross-platform, attribution, programmatic, the "shift to mobile," content marketing, social media, trading desks, the  interaction of “big data” and “big creativity,” video, convergence, "the future" of this or that, blah, blah, blah. If not forGE Link Light Bulbs andJeff Goldblum, there might have been no news at all.






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