With more than 30 speaking requests per week and a fee of more (sometimes a lot more) than $200,000, former President Bill Clinton’s agreement to keynote the 2007 Promax/BDA conference was considered a major coup throughout the television industry.
Regarded as a social icon not only for baby boomers but for the Gen X crowd that attends Promax, Mr. Clinton’s understanding of the changing media landscape and his ability to construct a message in a way that fully utilizes the medium delivering it are of great interest and importance to the Promax/BDA membership, according to Promax executives.
“We are pleased and honored by the opportunity to host President Bill Clinton as our keynote speaker this year. Our membership will certainly benefit from President Clinton’s experience and wisdom as a prominent world leader and respected statesman as well as from his efforts inspiring humanitarianism around the globe,” said Promax/BDA Chairman Michael Benson. “As an organization dedicated to furthering the roles of our members as the world’s foremost television marketers, what better example to provide to them than this global communicator whose vision and accomplishments, both during his presidency and beyond, have touched billions.”
So how did Promax entice Mr. Clinton over other more lucrative offers? Sources within Promax said numerous factors were at play, which led to Mr. Clinton committing to the gathering in January and charging just over half his normal speaking fee.
Of the multiple reasons, which include Mr. Clinton’s longtime relationship with members of Promax, his wife’s presidential campaign and the show’s location in New York City, the key factor is said to be the members of Promax/BDA themselves.
“The average Promax attendee controls 20,000 minutes of air time a year at their stations,” said one key member of the Promax team. “Clinton is smart—he has always known how to control the media. I’m not sure he would have made any other choice, especially with Hillary running, as well as his humanitarian efforts.”