Real Media Riffs - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2004

  • by April 13, 2004
THE WHOLE SHEBANGO BEHIND ADVERTISING WEEK -- We were having lunch recently at the New York Friar's Club, which is probably the only place where you can eat Matzah Brie in a room named after Frank Sinatra, when Matt Scheckner suddenly leaned across the table and mentioned, "I got home late last night because I was negotiating with Maytag." No Scheckner isn't in the market for a new washer/dryer. He was trying to cut a deal for the marketer to incorporate its legendary icon - the Maytag Repairman - in one of the many elements surrounding Advertising Week, a five-day blitz of 25 ad industry events, conferences, awards shows, parties and schmooze sessions running Sept. 20-25 in - where else? - New York City.

And Scheckner is the guy who's making the whole thing, or, in his words, "the whole shebango," come together. We'd like to think of him as the Jolly Green Giant of Advertising Week. And it's not just because the colorful Pillsbury vegetable icon is emblazed on his business cards. It's because Scheckner has already managed to scrape together $1.7 million in sponsorship deals - about 45 percent toward his goal of $4 million before Advertising Week kicks off with a parade down Madison Avenue.



As might seem fitting, almost everything about Advertising Week is sponsorable, including the Madison Avenue Walk Of Fame, and a wide range of tie-ins that are relatively far-flung from Madison Avenue itself. Like the guest advertising icons that Scheckner is trying to get to ring the opening bell on the stock exchange each day during the week. It's just an idea, of course, and one that Scheckner says needs to be vetted by the Wall Street folks. "Nasdaq may want somebody traded on their exchange in there," says Scheckner, who appears to have no limit of ideas for tying into the week.

Already, the organizers have booked out major events for each of the first four nights of the week - two on most nights - with early morning kick-offs starting each day at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station. Monday night features a reception at Gracie Mansion, as well as a "Fluid Battle of the Bands" concert at Irving Plaza, courtesy of the Newspaper Association of America. Tuesday features an ESPN 25th anniversary event at the ESPN Zone and a "Who's Next" concert at New York's Irving Plaza. Wednesday features the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' "Advertising Emmy" awards at the Museum of Natural History. Thursday options include a cruise aboard the Forbes Highlander yacht or a concert in Central Park sponsored by Clear Channel Communications.

"It's an epidemic of events," said Scheckner, noting that the coup de grace will be a consumer poll that will nominate America's 26 favorite advertising icons and 26 most popular advertising slogans. The voting, which will be managed online via Yahoo!, will run through Labor Day. Scheckner said any one spokescharacter is eligible from such classics as the Pillsbury Doughboy, Tony the Tiger and Speedy Alka Seltzer to newbies like Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" guy and the Dell Dude.

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