Nobody Asked Me, But …

One of the best things about the just-passed Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Summit in sultry Philadelphia was the convention hotel's being connected to the convention center without having to leave air conditioning. It took two mighty fine invites to get me to leave the premises on Tuesday.

But what went on in the convention center, and at demos at area suites and rooftop decks, was pretty hot, too. With a disclaimer that some show-daily dweebs like me get stuck in the press room a lot — aside to CTAM: thanks again for televising the general sessions there — here were some highlights I saw and heard.

The opening-session montage, done by ESPN's ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy, as a takeoff on Rocky, was hilarious. ESPN's Sean Bratches (did he really swallow a glass of raw eggs?) and Comcast's Dave Watson (was he really running that hard?) showed off their comedic and (more limited) boxing chops.

You probably read about the Ralph Roberts cameo as Burgess Meredith. But here's our scoop: the girl on the street whose water bottle Bratches convincingly snatches is a cousin of the director and lives in Philly. Second aside to CTAM: Try to post a digital version of that video on the Summit site so that all and sundry can enjoy it again. Comcast will probably demand, er, request it for free VOD as well.

The demo area was very well laid out, vendors I talked with seemed pleased and there was some cool-looking digital content on display. The corner of the room where vendors, for a fee, could schedule trade-show pitches was overflowing when I went by.

By good luck and by being in the press, I saw a couple of demonstrations outside the convention (including at a South Broad Street ad agency with a rooftop deck) that could maybe have a big impact on how TV guides look and how TV ads will be delivered. That's more than I've seen at some National Shows. But again, I don't get out enough.

And I have to say, it was probably inevitable but also a good idea to have one of the major shows in Philly. It's convenient to New Yorkers. It's old and needs the business. And it's convenient to Comcast. Not that Comcast demands or even requests such consideration. But hey, the number speaks for itself — 3,397 attendees, first time over 3,000 for the marketing summit.

As for the speakers, Ogilvy & Mather CEO Shelly Lazarus had people buzzing with the thought: imagine if you were getting pitched to buy digital phone service from American Express instead of insert-cable-company name. A spirited debate at the Matt Stump-hosted breakfast on on-demand business models was entertaining and showcased some smart industry folks, including Nickelodeon's Tom Ascheim.

And as always, the attendee list was worth the Amtrak fare and more.

See you next year in Boston.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.