This week, I had the pleasure of attending Advertising Week in New York, the advertising capital so to speak.  Before joining Jive in Portland, I spent many years in this dynamic, loud and colorful city, working in the ad world.  While it's always changing and somewhat chaotic, it remains a small world, as you see some of the same faces year after year.  Aside from the familiar though, it was also great to witness the new in all its forms - talent, companies and conversation.  Here are some of my favorite moments from this year's big event:

 

Arriving at the Thomson Reuter's building in Times Square for our first panel discussion, my colleague Molly Elwood and I couldn't help ourselves and snapped a few photos of the legendary Times Square Ball. The view was incredible and geared us up even more for the exciting things to come this week.

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Next came the #SeeHer: Marketers Lead Positive Change panel led by Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA. It was great to see top marketing talent from all sorts of B2B and B2C companies, including a strong representation from the tech space from Anna Griffin, SVP of Corporate Marketing at CA Technologies.  Anna stressed the importance of diversity in the workplace, specifically in tech, giving business a true leg up. "The unconscious bias is so powerful," Anna said and the company sets out to make strides to dispel it--putting talented women into engineering and decision making roles.  This is something that relates to working at Jive, as I see great examples of strong, intelligent women on our executive leadership team, in engineering, marketing and beyond.

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My next dose of inspiration came from the Building Connected Stories panel at the Times Center stage, featuring top advertising talent and big names in media.  This particular talk was led by Margo Georgiadis, President of Google, Americas and touched upon the importance of mobile innovation in content programming.  I particularly loved the VR references that were very much a theme in many of the other events at Advertising Week, as well. Aside from that, precision and purposeful targeting was cited as a strength of mobile.  Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO of L'Oreal USA said it well when she stated, "delivering the right message in the right context and order" is hard to do but when brands get it right, there's big rewards.

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I ended up hanging around the Times Center stage some more for the Creating Connections that Count panel, moderated by Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook. It was humbling to hear Carolyn start her talk by admitting to their recent video measurement error and publicly apologizing again to the audience, made up of the advertising community.  After she got that out of the way, she talked about the different ways Facebook is experimenting with content (including live video) followed by a panel of brand experts, leading the charge in mobile ad innovations.  While the common misconception is that a smartphone screen can be limiting when it comes to producing compelling advertising, Brad Jakeman, President of Global Beverage Group at PepsiCo said "doing the same thing you did the year before is the riskiest strategy you can take. I think we can probably be even more creative on a 4 inch screen than ever before!"

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Lunch was next, and while the unlimited amount of food options in NYC can be daunting, Advertising Week made it easy for us through their awesome line up of sponsored food trucks.  My fabulous wood fired pizza and chocolate chip cannoli you see above was brought to us by Sizmek, ad management platform, and it was just what I needed to recharge. Plus, it really is true what they say - that NY water makes for the best pizza crust.

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Wrapping up my first day in the same place I started it, the Thomson Reuter's building, I sat in on few discussions about women in business and advertising. The topics we discussed ran the gamut from effective examples of "femvertising" to furthering female professional advancement, to stories from leading women entrepreneurs. It was inspiring to hear that in terms of advertising, portraying women in a true, realistic light versus in a superficial and sexualized way is not only the right thing to do, it's profitable for business--positively impacting sales. I think this is a good lesson for us marketers working in the tech space, and not being afraid to experiment with representations that go beyond the typical tech male in a t-shirt and jeans.

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Day two of Advertising Week kicked off with an electrifying debate, about the previous night's presidential debate led by news anchor, Katie Couric. While inevitable political banter pursued, I especially enjoyed the talk because it showed the election from the perspective of the modern, digital consumer. Advertising and earned media coverage was of course touched upon, equating this year's presidential debate with some of TV's most compelling programming.

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Once again sticking around at the Times Center, the presidential debate panel was followed by a compelling talk about CEO Connectors, highlighting how key changes in the advertising and technology landscape change how we talk to different audiences.  It was amazing to see top agency, brand and entertainment talent represented.  You may recognize Padma Lakshmi, the face of Bravo's series, Top Chef, as she reflected on the way she started in programming and how she works with top brands to thoughtfully integrate them into the show.  We also heard from business leaders such as Susan Gianinno, Chairman of NA Publicis Worldwide who expressed that incorporating more diversity into their company is not only good for their work culture but that it also furthers innovation.

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Lunch time was rather rushed but I managed to sneak away for a few minutes and indulge in a delightful, peanut butter shake from my East Coast fast food favorite, Shake Shack.  It was just as delicious as I remembered it to be, so if you happen to find yourself in NY, give it a try.

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Another big highlight of the day came at the very end, as I got to see my past colleague Pam Grossman from Getty Images speak about Media for the Future Woman.  The talk focused on the way women are portrayed in media visually, and we got to see and hear about a few cliche as well as breakthrough ways brands can portray the future woman.  It was interesting to hear about new visual trends brands should be paying attention to, illustrated by photos of women surrounded by technology that makes them appear almost supernatural. I found this interesting, especially from a technology company perspective and how we think about showcasing our products and solutions.  We also got a copy of Glass, a new pop up publication full of trends and insights, "critical to shaping the future of women." I'm still enjoying my copy.

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Truly saving the best for last, I also got to experience the power of the ultra smart and charismatic Arianna Huffington as she interviewed business visionary and entrepreneur, Mark Cuban. It was fun to see their lively discourse, Arianna heckling Mark about the presidential debate but also getting some amazing insight into his investing strategy and some of his best business collaborations. Not surprisingly, the companies he's most excited about stem in technology and healthcare. Mark referenced a quote that really resonated with me: "perfection is the enemy of profitability," and I aim to apply that to my work and personal life.

 

I hope this summary has piqued your interest about the people, companies and ideas influencing today's marketing and advertising landscape. I know I've learned a lot along the way and hope to bring some of these insights back with me into Jive - you may just be seeing some of them come through in our future marketing so be on the lookout for some kickass women!  And feel free to peruse future Advertising Week events on their site or watch the video stream from this week's discussions.