In Review: Advertising Week 2009

Posted by Julia Casale-Amorim
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The 6th annual Advertising Week in NYC concludes today, and I think we can all agree that amidst the atmosphere of collaboration and unity, this year’s “meeting of minds” punctuated the historical significance that the years 2008 and 2009 have had on the unfolding direction and long-term future of the advertising and media industries.

Over the last year, economic challenges, social influences, and emerging digital platforms have all played a hefty role in shaping and foreshadowing the picture of advertising today, bringing us closer together as industry professionals, regardless of our individual pursuits and interests.

The notion of working together toward a common goal was strong and came as a refreshing change from the usual debate and controversy. Representatives from all sectors of advertising and media came together this week not only to reflect on the past, but to celebrate the collective progress we have made as an industry in the face of such tough economic times.

With over 200 events, conferences and expos planned and executed in tandem over the span of five days, Advertising Week was nothing short of chaotic. And while the usual “topics du jour” were present, digital media, the economy, brand advertising, and odes to agencies were the most prominently covered discussions.

Two of the most well known promoters of online media awareness and education held their flagship conferences simultaneously (again…sigh). Aside from the inconvenience this posed for delegates hoping to experience both events, the conference producers each did a stellar job of programming their respective agendas. While MIXX focused heavily on the theme of social media including the “Twitter phenomenon” and Facebook, touching briefly on the creative aspects of online advertising, the emphasis at OMMA was on “making online advertising better” as it related to everything from user engagement and measurement to the social media revolution.

The world of mobile made its debut at this year’s Advertising Week with the first ever Mobile Advertising Summit. Considering the recent iPhone and Blackberry “app” craze, it’s only a matter of time before Mobile fully emerges as a viable, in-demand advertising platform. Mobile was the hot topic even outside the summit, with most discussions throughout the week centering on how to make money from the platform – a puzzle that will need to be fully solved before the medium has a shot at competing against other digital heavyweights.

Case Studies
Case studies are the cement that, every year, binds all cross-sections of Advertising Week together.  Whether conveyed through formal presentations or casual anecdotes, case studies allow us to revisit and learn from past successes – not only are they inspirational, but they serve as an undeniable declaration of the progress we’ve made as an industry. From, the “History of Advertising in Times Square” and the “Best Global Brands Summit” to, “Google: Experiments in Digital Creativity” and “YouTube Battle of Brands”, case studies really helped establish the week’s peer-to-peer learning environment bringing theory and concept into practice.

The creative and strategy behind this globally significant multi-platform campaign were debuted at the Advertising Week Climate Change Symposium earlier this week. Hopenhagen brought together a string of the world’s top creative agencies who, through their collaborative efforts, have taken this wholly grassroots initiative to a first class level worthy of recognition on the world stage. Inspiring creative and messaging aside, it is truly heart-warming to see corporations with competing interests unite in support of such a worthy cause.

As Advertising Week comes to a close, much of the industry is left with an uplifting sense of hope, commitment, and achievement. The past five days of intensive discussion, analysis and debate proved that, no, we are not perfect – there is still much work to be done – but the challenges that lie ahead of us are not as daunting as we once thought, and our newfound sense of industry accord will pave the road for greater and better things to come.

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