Agency leaders converge at Advertising Week


NEW YORK -- Ludacris, Emilio Estefan, Martha Stewart, Mira Sorvino and Bobby Shriver will be among the hundreds of speakers and panelists during Advertising Week, which gets under way here Monday with about 60,000 advertising, media and marketing professionals gathering to discuss issues confronting their industry.

Now in its fourth year, Advertising Week has become the largest assembly of advertising and media agency leaders in North America, with participants from more than 40 countries, organizers said. It combines keynote speeches and panels featuring celebs and top industry CEOs with conferences and late-night music and comedic performances in a celebration of the industry's accomplishments.

As in previous years, there is a strong emphasis on the positive impact the advertising industry has had on social issues and world crises. This year, the Advertising Club will host a luncheon honoring Shriver with the 2007 Advertising Person of the Year award for his work in co-founding Product (Red) with U2's Bono. Product Red is a marketing initiative that marries the private sector with the buying power of the public to generate a sustainable flow of funds to fight AIDS in Africa.

Academy Award-winning actress and activist Sorvino, the International Crisis Group and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees will discuss how advertising affects the world's response to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. There also will be panel discussions on "green" marketing as well as the breast cancer movement and the power of cause marketing.

"It's a real mix of substance and flash and the flash glows pretty brightly and the substance runs pretty deep," said Matt Scheckner, executive director of Advertising Week.

For those unable to attend the conference, Advertising Week has created streaming radio station WADV in partnership with the Radio Advertising Bureau. WADV will be streamed from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. EST Sept. 24-28 at, and Advertising Week also offers streaming video of its live events at the Advertising Week Theater in Second Life.

Also during Advertising Week, the Ad Council, in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Wireless Foundation and the U.S. Department of Justice, is launching a national weeklong Wireless Amber Alerts campaign to encourage millions of Americans to sign up for free wireless text message alerts. The campaign features new TV and print PSAs as well as billboards, Web banners and ads on phone kiosks and the Panasonic screen in Times Square.

Other high-profile participants during the week include Caroline Kennedy, Chaka Khan; Craig's List founder Craig Newmark, producer Michael Davies, "Curb Your Enthusiasm's" Susie Essman, "Today Show" correspondent and former NFL player Tiki Barber, Alex Castellanos, Republican media consultant and strategist for Mitt Romney; and Mark Penn, Democratic pollster and chief strategist for Hillary Clinton.

Advertising Week was founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies but now stands on its own as a not-for-profit corporation and is governed by an independent board of directors.