Advertising Week announced its opening slate of programming for its 15th anniversary in New York with an updated location that speaks to an era of disruption and convergence.
It’s expected to see luminaries of the advertising world, and this year’s featured speakers include P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Endeavor’s new chief marketer Bozoma Saint John and Arianna Huffington, among others. This year’s week of programming has a significant venue change: the crossroads of Times Square have been replaced by the halls and theaters of the AMC Lincoln Square multiplex.
Lance Pillersdorf, president and chief operating officer of Advertising Week spoke to The Drum exclusively about what we’re to expect from the conference in its landmark year.
On the choice of venue and how it ties into the week’s programming and location, Pillersdorf spoke on the current of convergence. “Convergence is a big thing," he said, "both metaphorically and literally in this case — the cinemas really allow us to take each theater and programming content stream across the week.”
Three major throughlines cut through this year’s dialogue: trust and transparency, the evolution of the agency, and diversity and women’s empowerment. Each has been woven throughout a slate of keynotes, chats and panels that encompass everything from addressability, measurement and blockchain, to influencer marketing, design thinking and mixed reality tech. The condensed space has given the opportunity for Pillersdorf and staff to give each cinema — named after a different historic theater of its own — its own topic of discussion.
“One theater will be focused on tech,” he said as an example, “where you'll have martech and AI and tech and blockchain, and in the ‘culture’ theatre, we have fashion and sports and a design programs there. What that really enables us to do is really get deep into some of the different programming areas.”
For attendees who have been used to running from Times Center to BB King's basement restaurant and the other venues in years past, the escalator rides and walks through the cinema could provide a quick walk away from tourists. Pillersdorf added.
Additional guests for the week include a slew of chief marketers such as Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar, Citi’s Jennifer Breithaupt and Wendy’s Kurt Kane. Chief creatives like Colleen DeCourcy of Wieden + Kennedy, FCB’s Susan Credle, R/GA’s Geoff Edwards and Amusement Park’s Jimmy Smith have also been named as speakers this year. They’ll be joined by activists such as Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory, as well as actors such as Adrian Grenier of HBO’s past series Entourage.
Having one venue in New York for the first time ever allowed Pillersdorf and team to replicate a streamlined experience that they’ve enjoyed in taking the conference to other global markets. “We’ve been fortunate in London, and even in places like Mexico City and Tokyo to be under one roof and it really enhances the attendee experience. It allows them to attend more sessions to program more intelligently and just really adds to the overall experience of the week.”
Advertising Week’s 15th anniversary is scheduled for October 1 through 4.