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Conferences and Special Events 

In 2008, the 4A’s held five major national conferences as well as an array of informative management and planning programs. Our mission was to provide our membership with excellent program content while remaining mindful of costs and environmental impact.

The 2008 Media Conference & Tradeshow—“Digital Changes Everything”—was held March 5–7 in Orlando, Florida. Attended by more than 1,600 people, the Conference explored the myriad issues related to media and technology.

The show began on Wednesday, March 5, with a special program themed “Success Stories with Digital Media.” Session topics covered in-game advertising, paid search, mobile, and VOD and addressability. Speakers during the conference and breakout sessions included:

  • Tim Armstrong, President, Advertising and Commerce, North America, Google, Inc.
  • Abby Auerbach, Executive Vice President, Television Bureau of Advertising
  • David Cohen, Executive Vice President, US Director of Digital Communications, Universal McCann
  • Jim Cooper, Executive Editor, Mediaweek
  • Kathy Crawford, President, Local Broadcast, MindShare
  • Marc Goldstein, CEO North America, GroupM, and Chair, 4A’s Media Policy Committee
  • Irwin Gotlieb, Global CEO, GroupM
  • Michael Kassan, Principal, Medialink
  • David Kenny, Chairman and CEO, Digitas
  • Steve Poulin, Senior Vice President, Group Director, Operations, MediaVest USA
  • Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group
  • David Verklin, CEO, Aegis Media Americas.
  • Alexia Quadrani, Senior Managing Director, Bear Stearns & Co., Inc.

From April 28 through April 30, the 4A’s Leadership Conference—“Insights and Innovations”—presented a future-forward look and introduced a new generation of 4A’s leadership. Nancy Hill, President and CEO, 4A’s, and Tom Carroll, President and CEO, TBWA Worldwide, and newly elected 4A’s Chairman of the Board presented their views on how they planned to create an association that not only addresses the immediate concerns of member agencies, but looks to working collaboratively towards the future.

Program highlights included presentations by Lee Clow, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, TBWA Worldwide; Irwin Gotlieb, CEO, GroupM; Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google; Jerry Yang, Co-Founder and CEO, Yahoo!, and David Kenny, Chairman and CEO, Digitas. Additionally, there were three special Interactive Digital Lab sessions, with representation from Apple iPhone, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!, among others.

Since its introduction in 2000, the Executive Workshop for Small and Mid-Sized Agencies (SAMs), held the day before the Leadership Conference, has continued to grow in prominence as a vital benefit for those agency size groups. The 2008 Workshop was facilitated by Andy Fletcher, President and CEO, Fletcher Martin. Featured speakers included: David H. Freedman, Contributing Editor, Inc. magazine and Special Correspondent, Newsweek International; Brian Brooker, Chief Creative Officer and CEO, Barkley; Bill Fogarty and Rich Klein, Co-Chairs of FKM; Bruce Carlisle, Senior Associate, Interactive Agency Management & Solutions, A-Team Advisors; Tim Brenton, Founder and President, The Brenton Group; and Mark Schnurman, President and Co-founder, Filament Inc.

Last May, the digital conversation continued with the 4A’s one-day, intensive Digital Conference in New York City. Conversations covered myriad topics, including talent, mobility, business models and research. The 20-something consumer took center stage, sharing his/her view on the world. Speakers included: Matt Anthony, CEO, VML; Winston Binch, VP/Integrated Head of Interactive Production, Crispin Porter + Bogusky; Michelle Bottomley, COO, Ogilvy New York; Rick Boyko, Brandcenter Director & Professor Creative, VCU Brandcenter; Joe Celia, Chairman & CEO, G2 Worldwide; Vice Chairman, Grey Group; Ed Cotton, Strategy Director, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners; Mark Kvamme, Partner, Sequoia Capital; Randall Rothenberg, President & CEO, IAB; and Mike Sepso, Chairman/Co-Founder, Major League Gaming.

The 2008 Account Planning Conference—“Crafting Concepts and Content”—was held July 21–23 at the Loews Miami Beach in South Beach, FL. Conference speakers and breakout sessions were designed to provide inspiration from both the advertising and non-advertising worlds, and serve as the beginning of the next conversation on the future of planning. Traditionally, the Account Planning Conference is our second largest annual meeting and includes attendees representing more than a dozen countries beyond the United States. Speaker highlights included:

  • John Anton, Mars Petcare, Inc.
  • Merry Baskin, Baskin Shark
  • Jeff Goodby & John Thorpe, Goodby Silverstein and Partners
  • Tom Carroll, TBWA Worldwide
  • Ed Cotton, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners
  • Mark Earls, Herd Consulting
  • Jeffrey Rayport, Marketspace LLC
  • Geof Rochester, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

In addition, Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners of the annual Jay Chiat Planning Awards—the only international awards recognizing excellence in strategy and planning—were announced at the show. The Conference also provided attendees with a fresh, dynamic look at the online world of Web 2.0, via coverage on social media sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and blogs (including one by Conference sponsor WARC).

The second-ever 4A’s Account Management Conference was held last September 24 in New York. Although seemingly overshadowed by other advertising disciplines, account management plays a unique and pivotal role in agencies—that of “juggler, mediator, father confessor, mother creator and brand steward, all rolled up into one exacting and brilliant mind,” according to Nancy Hill. Speakers included:

  • Brad Brinegar, Partner, Chairman & CEO, McKinney
  • Laura Desmond, CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group
  • Nina DiSesa, Chairman, McCann Erickson, New York
  • Christine Fruechte, President & CEO, Colle+McVoy
  • Bob Greenberg, Chairman/CEO/Global Chief Creative Officer, R/GA
  • Carl Johnson, Founder & Partner, Anomaly Communications
  • Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
  • Greg Stern, CEO, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners

In addition to national conferences, the 4A’s held numerous regional and seminar meetings and convened several planning- and management-oriented programs, including:

  • Agency Management Development Program in New York (June)
  • Executive Leadership Program in Florida (January)
  • Quantitative Research Workshops in Chicago (January) and New York (April)
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