Promax Aims To Prove It's Worth The Trip

Promax&BDA, the awkwardly named association for television promotion, marketing and design professionals, meets this week for its annual convention, and—what else?—Promax chief Jim Chabin has been busy finding new ways to promote and market the show.

With the gathering seen by some as a frill in a frill-free era, Chabin last week was pushing just the opposite idea: "We think promotion is an 'extreme' sport. The only way to justify being out of the office for some of these people is to give them specific hands-on information about how to drive ratings for local news, or your cable channel. It's really where we want to focus this conference."

Some of the seminar titles prove it. They don't beat around the bush. There's "How To Write a Kick-Ass Creative Brief" and "How To Get Your Budget Approved Without Begging and Whining," for example.

Chabin, president and chairman of Promax from 1992 to '99, returned in 2002 faced with a slumping economy that was whittling down attendance at all industry confabs. And Promax, he knows, has sometimes been considered less than necessary by station managers. So, to prove it's not, he decided to let cable presidents or station general managers in for free to see for themselves. A couple dozen will be there (among an estimated crowd of 2,000) when the convention begins Tuesday at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles. It winds up on Friday.

A highlight of the show includes a presentation of awards to Brand Builders, men and women honored for their expertise in marketing. It's co-sponsored by BROADCASTING & CABLE.

After the main Promax show, Chabin will take a cut-down version to six cities: New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and Denver. All told, he thinks Promax in one form or another will attract 3,000 attendees, not far off from where it was a year ago.

And as at Promax in the old days, some syndicators, including NBC Enterprises, King World and Warner Bros., will host seminars to explain to stations how they'll promote their offerings and to work with them on co-op ad opportunities. Promotion executives from NBC and ABC affiliates will also be meeting at Promax.

Highlights otherwise include an appearance by Brent Magid, president of news consultant firm Magid Associates, who will release findings of a specially commissioned study of the effectiveness of news promos. His appearance and others is part of Promax's arrangement with the Radio-TV News Directors Association to add news-specific elements to the convention.