Media X: This Beat Bites

I'm so tempted to unleash opinionated hell on the fact that one week before the transformation that is supposed to rescue Adweek from oblivion, I find a message in my inbox from a Gawker reporter. He's been put on the Alison Fahey beat and asked me to supply anonymous dirt on the Adweek editor.

. Quel coincidence, non?

Several other survivors have been contacted, although I doubt any will play. In any case, anonymity is for tools. Whatever I have to say about this or any other industry subject will appear under my byline, and I will take responsibility for it. So I'll just let you all chew on this development for a few days and weigh in next week, after the broken book's latest attempt to save itself is rolled out.

In the meantime, I've got whiter fish to fry.

Before the news cools too much, I have to admit that I was more than a little worried about O. Burtch Drake's replacement. I mean, who else better symbolizes the dead old days than the outgoing and longtime leader of the American Association of Advertising Agencies? Or is it the Association of American Advertising Agencies? I can never remember.



Anyway, who else is better suited to run an organization born in the waning days of World War I than somebody named O. Burtch Drake? He is so perfect for his role, in fact, that I've always suspected he's actually an android developed in office basements by a secret cabal of out-of-touch ad guys.

And he's not really leaving. They're turning him off because he doesn't work anymore.

In his place, they have constructed a new artificial life form that -- like a Terminator -- is equipped with a re-engineered gender. Nancy Hill, whom nobody knows anything about but is a woman, so that's good. And who used to run Lowe, so she has experience managing irrelevance, is the new cyborg in charge at the 4As. Hill also used to work at BBDO on the Visa account, so expect a vastly improved Super Bowl party from the 4As from now on.

I understand from "sources familiar with the matter" that Hill really, really respects digital media. That she lived in San Francisco. That she could be good. Hope so. If any group needs to stay current, it's the 4As.

But have you been to any of their recent conferences? It's like listening to Scarlett O'Hara talk about the future of the South, except Scarlett was more in touch with reality. Even the Media Conference, which I flat out love, could do with a little more groundbreaking when it chooses umbrella themes for its annual pow-wow. I mean, "Shit's Good," "We're Screwed" or "WTF?" (I'm paraphrasing here) are hardly inspiring choices.

So I guess we'll have to wait and see about the 4As' new leader. Let's hope she has time to get her sea legs under her before Gawker assigns a reporter to the Nancy Hill beat.

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