December 4, 2009

Announcing CATFOA 2010

UPDATED with final roster!

The insights will be deep and useful. The subject-matter diverse and relevant. The conversation inspiring and pragmatic. Here's the initial line-up for the 2010 Conversations About The Future Of Advertising speaker series. (We'll ultimately have four dates in all.)

Each sessions will occur, once again, on Monday evenings (doors at 5:00 p.m., events start at 6:00 p.m.) at the Fine Line Music Cafe on First Avenue North in Minneapolis.

And, as in years past, all events are FREE and open to the public due to gracious support from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. We thank these organizations for their continued generosity and enthusiasm!

:: CATFOA 2010 Speaker Series ::

Monday, February 8, 2010
Chief Creative Officer/Chief Social Media Officer, MULLEN

Edward is one of Mullen’s four original partners. Over the last 26 years he has helped define the agency’s creative standards, established its public relations group, integrated digital design and production into all of the agency’s operations, and most recently launched its growing social media practice. Edward also acts as chief advocate for and speaks frequently on the merits of crowdsourcing.

Monday, March 8, 2010
EVP Chief Technology Strategist, McCann Erickson NY

As Chief Technology Strategist, Faris is tasked with helping to work out how brands, people and technology can play better together. Before his current position, he spent 5 years being the Digital Ninja at communication strategy agency Naked Communications. As a strategist Faris has worked on brands such as Sony, Google, Yahoo!, Nestle and Virgin Mobile, in Sydney, London and New York. Faris regularly writes about brands, media, communications and technology for Fast Company, Contagious Magazine and Forbes.

Monday, April 19, 2010
Director of Digital Strategy, Droga5

At Droga5, Hashem works with brands to shape their digital marketing and helps to keep the agency and its creative work ahead by tapping into the latest innovations in technology, media and the web. Before joining D5, Hashem was Digital Strategy Director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. In 2007, Hashem was the youngest person to be named in AdAge’s “40 Under 40 to Watch”.

Monday, May 10, 2010
Colleen DeCourcy (@decourcy)
Chief Digital Officer, TBWA Worldwide

As Chief Digital Officer for TBWA Worldwide, Colleen is responsible for developing and implementing a global digital strategy throughout the TBWA network. Her areas of expertise range from digital postproduction and motion-graphics design to creative campaign development across digital platforms. Prior to joining TBWA, DeCourcy served as Chief Experience Officer at JWT, and as the Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Organic. Colleen was the Cyber Lions Jury President at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2008.

(Click here for the MIMA event listing for Colleen DeCourcy.)

Follow @CATFOA on Twitter for future updates.

May 19, 2009

That's a wrap. CATFOA 2009 series recap

(Image by Jamie M via Flickr)

And just like that, we're done. Another fantastic year of wonderful guest speakers, questions, insights and most important—useful conversation.

Thank you, Alan Wolk, Kristina Halvorson, Bob Thacker, David Armano and Michael Lebowitz for defining and evolving Conversations About The Future Of Advertising in 2009. We very much appreciated your enthusiasm, wisdom and energy.

Thank you, everyone who turned out, brought co-workers, clients and friends and helped spread the word. We live in an amazing community here in the Twin Cities, in large part due to your willingness to turn out and participate.

Thank you to our great sponsors—the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, as well as the Fine Line Music Cafe. We all benefit from your generosity.

Here are just a few images from our 2009 series—many more can be found via Flickr.

Alan Wolk

Kristina Halvorson
(Image by Warren Parsons via Flickr - from An Event Apart Seattle '09.)

Bob Thacker

David Armano

Michael Lebowitz

We'll be back in January 2010. If you have recommendations for speakers in 2010, please contact Tim Brunelle at "tim [at]"

May 5, 2009

Michael Lebowitz - Monday, May 11, 2009: "Living in a Post-Advertising World"

UPDATE:  Video recap from the event is embedded below (scroll down). Thanks to all who turned out! It was another great crowd. Thanks especially to Matt from MIMA for the cupcakes. 

This is it! Our final speaker for the 2009 series is Michael Lebowitz, CEO of Big Spaceship. He'll be joining us this coming Monday, May 11 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:00 p.m.) at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis. 

No RSVP required. Admission is free.

Michael founded Big Spaceship in 2000. An architect and board member of SoDA (the Society of Digital Agencies), he is also a member of AIGA's Visionary Design Council and the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. 

An innovation-led digital creative agency, Big Spaceship partners with brands to create deeply engaging experiences, products and relationships. Telling stories and starting conversations across the digital landscape, the company has garnered many accolades for its work, including One Show, Clio, Webby and Cannes Lion awards. Big Spaceship holds more FWAs than any other firm and was the first American agency inducted into the FWA's Hall of Fame. Big Spaceship's work for Epson, Sony Pictures, HBO, OfficeMax, Adobe, Corona, NBC Universal, Ford, Target, Royal Caribbean, Nike, Coca-Cola and LG demonstrate a strong breadth of strategic thinking, creativity and production in the digital space.

On Monday, Michael will speak on "Living in a Post-Advertising World." He'll touch on getting rid of the mindset of making "ads that people will love" and focusing, instead, on an understanding of creating a value exchange between brands and their audiences. Michael will also talk about the major infrastructure issues facing advertisers and agencies—noting these challenges encourage opportunistic thinking: "Never waste a good crisis." Finally, he'll discuss shifting from campaign thinking to persistent strategy that affords us the ability to make products and experiences of incredible value. 

Don't miss this final event in our 2009 series. Michael's presentation promises great insights, examples and inspiration. Bring your friends and co-workers!

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Here's the recap video of Michael's presentation from MIMA Live (Michael's presentation begins about eight minutes in):

April 17, 2009

David Armano - Monday, April 27, 2009: "The Future of Advertising. WTF?"

UPDATE: What a great crowd last night! We had around 200 show up. The video of David's presentation is embedded at the end of this post.

David Armano, newly Senior Partner at Dachis Corp (previously VP Experience Design at Critical Mass), and blogger at Logic+Emotion, will be joining us Monday, April 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:00 p.m.) at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis.

The event is free. No RSVP required.

David graduated from the Pratt Institute, studying computer graphics and visual communication, before starting a 14-year career in digital marketing and experience design. He's held creative and strategic leadership roles at Digitas and, as well as Critical Mass, working for clients such as HP, Allstate, Fifth Third Bank, Miller Brewing, Grainger and Bally Total Fitness. David's work blends strategy with design to look for new opportunities around the evolving Web (otherwise known as Web 2.0) to enhance customer experiences and bring brands and people closer together.

David's blog, Logic+Emotion, is ranked in the Top 20 Media and Marketing blogs by Advertising Age. His writing and visual thinking have been cited by Forrester, The Boston Globe and Businessweek. (Follow him on Twitter @Armano.)

David's presentation: "The Future of Advertising. WTF?" will draw from his experience working with major brands in the digital space, connecting and mashing up advertising as PR, enhancing service design and integrating product innovation. He'll speak to the relevance of micro-interactions and macro word-of-mouth; the future of work—from silos and assembly lines to networks and signals—and the effects these forces are having on the (currently) fuzzy agency model. As always, David will discuss the power of value, utility and a good story, regardless of where it's communicated.

Read David's post about his presentation here. Lots of good set-up. And here's his slideshow:

This promises to be yet another engaging event. Carve the date into your iPhone. Don't miss it.

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Here's David's presentation from (the video starts approximately two minutes into his speech):

March 22, 2009

Bob Thacker - Monday, April 6, 2009: "Chewing Gum and Bailing Wire"

UPDATE:  Another fantastic turnout this evening! Many thanks to everyone who showed up, despite the Twins home opener, for Bob's inspiring presentation. A video recap of the event is embedded below.

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Bob Thacker, Sr. VP, Marketing & Advertising for OfficeMax, the man who brought Michael Graves to Target and commissioned, joined us Monday, April 6 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (doors
 open at 5:00 p.m.) at the Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis.

Bob is infamous for exhorting his agencies to, "Don't make ads, make 
news." And his career demonstrates the strength of that direction, including roles as Sr. VP of Marketing Services at Sears Roebuck, VP of Marketing at Target and CEO/President of BBDO, Minneapolis. Bob was twice selected by Ad Age as one of the 
"Top 100 Marketers in the Nation," and was elected to the Retail Hall of Fame, which honors only one retail professional each year. He's figured out how to collaborate with traditional advertising and digital agencies and PR firms—from big shops to boutiques. 

His career includes deep experience with media planning, campaign integration, marketing technology and the challenges and opportunities that come in collaborating with empowered consumers—not to mention figuring out how to achieve more with less. 

Bob will be speaking about getting big ideas with small budgets, with obser
vations and insights from his career, focused through the lens of our turbulent times. Bob says, "I hope that I might enlighten and inspire the CATFOA audience to persevere and even prevail."

We've hosted seven events so far in this series. Here's the first that digs into the future of advertising from the client perspective. Check out this recent interview with Bob from Businessweek magazine for more insights. This is going to be
 a fantastic event. Don't miss it.

March 2, 2009

Kristina Halvorson - Monday, March 9, 2009: "Content Strategy - The Care and Feeding of Your Biggest Brand Asset"

UPDATE:  Great attendance (150+) last night! The UStream video is embedded below, along with Kristina's slideshare. 
- - - - -
Kristina Halvorson, president of Brain Traffic and nationally-renowned content strategist, will be joining us Monday, March 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:00.m.) at the Fine Line Music Cafe.

Admission is free. No RSVP required. And we'll have free food. So tell your friends!

Kristina's presentation, "Content Strategy - The Care and Feeding of Your Biggest Brand Asset," asks us to rethink our preconceived notions of marketing and how marketing gets done in the digital age. 
Often, the way we talk about content makes it sound like something that will magically create itself, an omnipresent commodity that can be StumbledUpon with ease. But what about our core marketing messages? How are we communicating - and demonstrating - our brand positions online? With our branded content, of course. Clearly, this content is a critically valuable asset that can make or break our customers' online experience. So why are agencies and their clients constantly forgetting to consider their online content until the eleventh hour?

You've heard a lot about how to 'listen' to the customer using social media. Content strategy creates a consistent, clear roadmap for your (ongoing) online communications. What should you publish, and why? Where? How? Who will own the content, both before and after launch?
This event promises to be a must-attend for anyone involved in marketing planning, strategy, budgeting, creation and production. Kristina will bring valuable insights for creative directors, media planners and account strategists - anyone with an interest in What Gets Said.

(Did we mention it's free? And there's free food?)

Kristina will look past today's "bright shiny objects" towards a future where a company's (and their customers') content is treated as a valuable asset, not an afterthought. You'll appreciate her challenging yet very useful insights, examples and suggestions.

(Here's the video from last night. Sorry about the lighting. The club was set up for Atmosphere's show later on.)

January 21, 2009

Alan Wolk - Monday, Feb. 9, 2009: Your Brand Is Not My Friend

UPDATE: Huge thanks to Alan for making the trip to the Twin Cities. We had a great crowd on Monday for this event. Alan's presentation is embedded below, as well as links to coverage of the event. Plus, check out Alan's blog for his reaction.

* * * * *

Creative Strategist Alan Wolk will be joining us from NYC on Monday, February 9 from 6:00 - 8:00pm (doors open at 5:00pm) at the Fine Line Music Cafe

Admission is free. No RSVP required. And there will be food. Free food. How can you resist?

Alan's ongoing blog series, "Your Brand Is Not My Friend," will fuel his presentation as he shares his perspective on what he sees as the critical mistake brands make when entering the social media space: the assumption that they too can enjoy the cult-like following of a "Prom King" brand like Nike or Apple. This session will discuss what to do if you aren't among the 1% of brands who achieve Prom King status; the effects of The Real Digital Revolution (the ability of consumers to research products online and how this shifts the focus of advertising); and what the future of ad agencies might look like, in light of this.

This will be a great event for anyone working inside an agency and those who work with agencies of all stripes. Alan brings long experience working in a variety of ad agencies, large and small working on major branding campaigns, and has written extensively about becoming a "tradigitalist"—one who appreciates the (traditional) value ad agencies can bring to branding, but now works primarily within the new realm of digital marketing. 

[UPDATE: Alan will also discuss this very recent story making the rounds in advertising regarding Eric Silver's apparent move from BBDO to DDB, chronicled with insight by former CATFOA speaker, Adweek Digital Editor Brian Morrissey.]

We hope to see you there!

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Here's Alan's presentation via Slideshare:

Links recapping this event: