Good morning everybody.
Was it really a year ago when some of us gathered in New Orleans for the 2009 4A’s Media Conference, while others of us gathered in San Francisco for the 2009 4A’s Leadership Conference?
What a difference a year makes. (That, by the way, is the new 4A’s logo, but more on that later this afternoon…)
Last year, when I announced that the 4A’s Media and Leadership Conferences would be combined in 2010—bringing together the entire media and marketing ecosystem in one room—my intentions were both practical and philosophical.
Practical because I knew that many of us—under the extreme pressures of the economic realities that we all faced—were dealing with significantly reduced travel and education budgets, and I was doubtful that we’d be able to attract the numbers that we needed to successfully host two large national conferences.
And philosophical because I’ve always felt that having separate events for the media community and creative agency community was counter-productive. After all, although there may have once been a time when it was practical to remain in discipline silos, it was always our intention to one day bring the entire media and marketing ecosystem together at one event.
And here we are today: Welcome to the inaugural 4A’s Transformation Conference.
Over the past year, the 4A’s team has been working on putting together a program that’s much more than the sum of its parts. Sure, there’s a Media Conference element to Transformation. And certainly there’s a Leadership element to Transformation. But the truth of the matter is: Transformation 2010 is an entirely different approach from the 4A’s conferences of the past.
Transformation 2010 is an opportunity for the entire advertising and media community to come together and get down to the nitty gritty of what we need to do—individually and collectively—to transform the business as we know it.
Throughout the conference, we’ve programmed conversation breaks that will bring the conversations from the mainstage right into the audience. And although I know this isn’t exactly a shy group, we’ve designated conversation starters at each table who will help facilitate dialogue.
So don’t think you’ll be able to just sit back and listen. This is a working conference, and your participation is expected and required.
Transformation isn’t simply a one-off event either. In fact, moving forward, the 4A’s combined Media and Leadership Conferences will fall under the new moniker, Transformation.
And not to be outdone (or undone, as it were) by the momentum that I hope we’ve created with this event, we plan to keep the conversations going about the Transformation of our businesses with Webinars and smaller live events throughout the year—and across the country—that capture the essence of the fundamental changes that are occurring in our business. Stay tuned…
I think one of the most exciting elements of Transformation is the unveiling of the winners of the inaugural 4A’s Transformers program. Late last year, I asked people working in our business and beyond to give me an idea that would transform advertising and media as we know it. In exchange, I offered winners the chance to present their winning ideas on the mainstage of this conference—with a strict five-minute time limit.
Over the next few days—beginning this morning—you’ll hear from the eight winning Transformers. Each brings a unique perspective to what he or she would do to transform our business. And while all of our Transformers will present their distinct takes on transforming our business, what they all have in common is a passion for advertising and media, and a unique viewpoint that’s larger than simply about a single person or individual company.
And now for the disclaimer: Our winning Transformers were selected—among more than 80 entries—by an esteemed panel of judges composed of 4A’s board members. And while I’m sure that these presentations will inspire, provoke and perhaps even enrage some of us—as Transformers are wont to do—the views and opinions that they express are their own, and their presentations do not represent an endorsement by the 4A’s board of directors or the membership at large.
Before we move on, a few housekeeping items:
First, I encourage you to visit the Transformation Lounge, downstairs in the Golden Gate Ballroom. It’s open beginning today at lunch and all day Tuesday, and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before at previous 4A’s previous tradeshows. ou’ll be able to meet with our premium exhibitors there, as well as access free wifi, courtesy of our friends at Google, who have also generously sponsored wifi throughout the meeting space, including the ballroom and foyer.
Also, we really want to hear from you, so throughout the conference, we’ll ask poll questions about a variety of issues related to the Transformation of our business using Aerva screens located around the ballroom and foyer. You may vote on polls, as well as share ideas and pictures using your mobile device. (Just be careful of the pics you upload, please!)
For interactive polls, text to 51340, then select the question you want to respond to, along with your response.
We have a lot of ground to cover today—and I’ll be back on stage later this afternoon to talk about the transformation of the 4A’s—so for now, let’s get started with this morning’s program, and let me introduce our first speaker:
Marc Goldstein was named CEO of GroupM North America in February 2007. In that role he is responsible for overseeing general management as well as strategic and administrative activities at each of the company’s four operating units—Maxus, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom and Mindshare. He is currently in his third and final term as chairman of the 4A’s Media Policy Committee—arguably one of the most active and important 4A’s committee—and he has been instrumental in developing key industry positions on behalf of the 4A’s as well as the heart and soul of shaping the 4A’s Media Conference.
As many of you know, Marc will be stepping down as CEO North America of GroupM, but before he does, we’re privileged to have him with us today to kick off Transformation 2010 and preside over this morning’s session.
Ladies and gentlemen, my friend, Marc Goldstein.