Commentary

Let It Ride

It makes sense that the 4As Media Conference would find its way to Las Vegas sooner or later. Anyone who has ever seen the comedy team of Mandel & Grubbs take apart a Media Conference panel, or Irwin Gotlieb tinkle the ivories on a lobby piano, or the captains of the industry downing fluorescent-colored shots in a Bourbon Street dive in the predawn fog knows what I’m talking about. Not that there’s anything wrong with where they usually hold this party. I mean, Orlando is fun, in a soul-sucking, plastic, creepy arrested childhood sort of way. New Orleans, of course, was custom fit for the media business but, alas, les bon temps ne rouler plus. But Vegas makes more sense. Vegas is the last party at the end of the world. The 4A’s should have people imbedded there 24/7/365. The last time I was in Vegas, I left with a 103-degree fever, a two-day hangover, and several ragged holes in a navy suit that were the result of a complicated series of events I only dimly remember. I think it was an experiment in engagement that went disturbingly awry. Good times. Anyway, I won’t even get to the Conference until tomorrow, but already I’m worried. Have you seen the theme of this thing? “Communications Leadership: the Odds for Success.” Jim Stengel’s Thursday show is entitled “The Stakes Just Got Higher – Are You All In?” There’s also an “Interview” with Bob Liodice, and what makes that different from all the other times reporters can do an interview with Bob Liodice, who seems to be at every one of these industry hoohas, is beyond me. I mean, come on. No one who wears a suit is allowed to make bad puns or capitalize words nobody ever capitalizes. Except for Jim Stengel. Jim Stengel can say whatever the hell he wants even if it doesn’t mean anything, because he sells diapers and you don’t. Will the Conference be podcast? Skyped? Wireless? (Not all of it, according to the Venetian, which says only part of the hotel is hot.) Will it go mobile? Will it go old school, slipping quaint paper publication products under our hotel room doors in the middle of the night or will it go analog, running painful conference news videos on the hotel’s in-house channel? Did you know Jack Bauer has his own MySpace page? That my son uses my laptop after he gets off work to download songs into my iTunes library that sate his own freakish taste in music, which then automatically update not just onto his iPod but also onto my cherry-red Nano whenever I sync the damn thing? And I don’t even like the Transplants. Why do I think of the broadcast networks whenever I drive past Death Valley? Does Joe Uva even speak Spanish? The more channels there are, the more confused clients become, except for Jim Stengel, who I suspect just started this marketing visionary thing to scam a weeklong vacation in the south of France every year. Well, he’s Jim Stengel and you’re not. But in general, the more confused clients become, the more they need you. The more channels they have, the more they need somebody to, ahem, “steward their investments” in those channels. (That means “buy media” in English. Just in case you were wondering.) Talk about your overflowing toy chests. Nice time to have a Conference. My advice? Bet on the come.
5 comments about "Let It Ride".
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  1. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, February 28, 2007 at 5:13 p.m.

    I think Jack is referring to Jon Mandel who is playing at Nielsen these days, not Howie Mandel who is playing down the block at the MGM Grand.

  2. Stacey Lynn Koerner, March 1, 2007 at 8:37 a.m.

    What a pleasure to read you again, Jack! I won't be partaking myself, but it's good to know you're out there doing it for me! Stace

  3. Jon Nesvig from Fox Broadcasting, March 1, 2007 at 10:17 a.m.

    Jack: I think there're more prognosticators than media skeletons in Death Valley. We're having a great year and adapting like mad. Stay out of the sun.

  4. Joan Voight from Business media, March 1, 2007 at 1:01 p.m.

    Only half the hotel is hot! Just shoot me.
    Come do business in SF Bay Area, where whole cities do the Wi Fi thing--for free.

    Welcome back to the fray Jack.

    Joanie V

  5. Graham Da ponte from OTR Global, March 4, 2007 at 8:53 p.m.

    Sorry, but I had to stop reading and respond to the comment about New Orleans. Les bon temps do indeed roulez encore in New Orleans, Jack. In fact, the 4As are coming back in 2009. But why wait? We're up and running and you'll have the time of your life, even better than before the storm, because everyone here will be so damn glad to see you you'll feel like a movie star.

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