This year’s Admonsters excursion (to conference #17 to be exact) took me out to the environs of Albequerque and Santa Fe at the Hyatt Tamaya resort in Bernalillo, New Mexico. We decided to make this a family affair since very soon Amy will be on a no-travel regimen (due date is October 31, only 10 weeks away). Amy’s parents also joined us for a bit of R&R&Sam. To top that all off, Amy’s aunt (who is from Albequerque) and uncle came down from Denver – and their son Jonathan came out from LA. So all in all it turned into a little Handelman/Siegel/Gardenswartz reunion.
We had a great dinner with Bobbi’s 90-year-old father and the rest of the clan on Friday night, headed up to Santa Fe on Saturday along with 100,000 of our closest friends for the annual Indian Market and Art Show. It was a madhouse, but a great way to see the full scope of what the area’s artistans have to offer. One celebrity spotting, Curtis Stone of TLC’s Take Home Chef. Despite rumors of both Oprah and Dennis Hopper being seen around our hotel, neither was confirmed.
Check out this photo gallery of our time there.
The conference was great. Kicked off with a keynote by Tarik Sedky, Chief Digital Officer at Young & Rubicam. He spoke quite earnestly about the truck coming down the highway, headed straight for the operational and technical aspects of all digital media – a rapid growth in demand for creativity and originality at all levels of publisher organizations. Check out gettheglass.com for one example he shared. And it turns out that Tarik did some time in Chatham County back in the day – he lived in Thunderbolt when he was working for Anderson Advertising out of Hilton Head on the Gulfstream account.
The first day of sessions focused on ad operations and video advertising, build v. buy for ad operations, motivating operations teams, rich media challenges and the like. Day two was all about the vendors, and I made some good contacts and renewed others. The final day was the most engaging, with less formal presentations that evolved into dynamic discussions on topics on widgets, mobile, and advertising issues in non-linear and AJAX environments. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with new contacts.
You’d think I’d hear about this around the office, but instead saw this blogged by someone at Optaros, a vendor we use. My co-workers David Payne, Dermot Waters and Lori Adams are blogging the CNN.com Relaunch project. Check it out here. The comments are a great read.
It’s been a busy few days for us at Turner Broadcasting. Today, CNN.com took the wraps off a beta preview of their new design coming on July 1st (as reported earlier). Full disclosure – I work for Turner Broadcasting, and my ad services team has worked extensively on this project, but the views herein are my own. But as one blog put it:
Something strikes me as… different. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It looks cleaner. Brighter. Cleaner. Grayer. Whiter. Redder. Bluer. Nicer.
The blogs seem to have welcomed the new video treatment (no popup player, and now in Flash!), the Amazon-like ‘We Recommended’ feature, the intelligent use of Ajax, the tabbed presentation in stories highlighting multimedia elements and even, daresay it, the cleaner ad presentation. Some comments do opine for the ability to embed videos on user sites, however. I do think the new site embraces the spirit of Web 2.0, emphasizing the blogosphere on every story (via Sphere) and utilizing Topix for local coverage. Another very cool feature are the new Hot Topics pages, which are being autogenerated for pretty much any story, personality or subject you might dream up; here are a few examples: tuberculosis, Lindsay Lohan, Vioxx, and George W. Bush. As an added bonus, all of these are also available as RSS feeds, huzzah!
As with Gametap 3.0 that launched yesterday, my team has been working on the advertising portions of this project for many months. I’m encouraged to read in some blogs that the ads are less obtrusive, and on the technology side, we’ve really broken what I believe is new ground with some of the underlying approaches, especially around the new video players.
Please do check it out, and be sure to add your comments – there is a handy ‘+Feedback’ link on most pages, and the site wants to hear your opinion. More coverage of the beta can be found here.