AAAA ’09: Focus on the Consumer

Mar 1, 2009  •  Post A Comment

If the American Association of Advertising Agencies named years like the Chinese calendar, this would be the year of the consumer.
The 4A’s conference that kicks off in New Orleans this week is being billed as a consumer-centric conference. To deliver on that promise, the 4A’s plans to feature live consumer focus groups during the three-day event and to integrate their feedback into the industry panels.
Dubbed “The Consumer Is Watching … Listening … Clicking … Connecting,” the conference runs March 4-6 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.
The roster of speakers includes top executives from GroupM, MediaVest, MindShare, eMarketer, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Nielsen, Mediasmith, the New York Times, Hewlett-Packard, Draft FCB, BBDO, Initiative, Hulu, Google, Universal McCann, OMD and NBC Universal.
While the turnout will largely represent agencies and marketers, the conversations will be centered on the consumer and anchored by three consumer groups: young people, baby boomers and women, said Kipp Cheng, senior VP of communications for the 4A’s.
The conference opens Wednesday afternoon with the session “Project Reinvention: Now Is the Time for Action,” moderated by Harold S. Geller, senior VP of digital initiatives at the 4A’s. He’ll host a conversation with Irwin Gotlieb, the global CEO of GroupM, and Randall Rothenberg, president-CEO of the IAB.
Other sessions that day will delve into effective measurement of Internet advertising and online audiences and new business models for agencies. The agenda shifts into politics later that day with an “Inside Washington” talk between New York Times chief Washington correspondent David E. Sanger and Adonis Hoffman, senior VP and counsel for the 4A’s.
The Thursday lineup will feature a series of talks in the morning starting with Ms. Hill. She will be followed by a speech from Marc Goldstein, CEO, North America, GroupM, and chair of 4A’s media policy committee, and then by Michael Mendenhall, chief marketing officer and senior VP of corporate marketing at Hewlett-Packard.
The consumer panels start next, with various industry executives moderating for each of the groups. To cap those off, a group of agency, university and brand executives will react and respond to the consumer panels.
“We want to talk to them about things like their use of online digital media and multitasking and what they are doing and what seems to be working and what mediums are they paying the most attention to,” said Jim Kite, president of connections research and analytics at MediaVest USA and one of the speakers on the follow-up panel.
The afternoon’s sessions will include speakers such as Dan Cutforth, executive producer of “Project Runway,” and Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.
Friday’s general session will feature Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News. The closing session will feature the CEOs of the major media holding companies.


  1. I thought it was a ratings thing.
    o, wait…rotflmfao

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