SAY: Advertising Week 2011 Preview

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h1Gonna teach you tricks that will blow your mind.

TV on the Radio

Spearhead's Michael Franti once sang that television is the "drug of a nation / breeding ignorance and feeding radiation." While the lyric smacks of early 90s attitude, it turns out that watching too much television may, in fact, kill you. Or at least shorten your lifespan, according to new research out of Australia, where doctors found that for every hour of television watched after the age of 25, average lifespan decreased by 22 minutes.

While we don't expect news of this research to cause a sudden drop in hours spent in front of the tube, the challenge that networks and brands face in building and maintaining mass audiences during prime time are well known. And while advertisers may not be (too) worried about television shortening life spans, they are interested in understanding how technology is changing media, from production to distribution to consumption. And come this fall, many of them will be gathering at Advertising Week in New York, the industry's annual star-studded confab, to wrestle with that issue .. .and wrestle a drink at one of the many parties that surround the events.

We caught up with Matt Scheckner, Executive Director of Advertising Week, for a preview of what attendees can expect at the event in October.

SAY: What trends did you see as you were putting together the lineup for Advertising Week?

SCHECKNER: Our challenge is to keep our finger on the pulse of what marketers are most interested in, what keeps them up at night – and then find the people best positioned to guide the way forward. One of the biggest issues this year how technology is changing content distribution. For example we have a seminar on Monday with Amex, the Tribeca Film Festival and Ed Burns (director of "Newlyweds" which he created for $20,000) that talks about using marquis brands and experiential platforms to extend reach.

What else will we see?

Social media will be a huge topic. So will the convergence of small screens and big screens and what that means for marketers. Data, metrics and how to monetize and measure social media will be another big theme. And we'll also have lots of stuff about technology to reach people that are hard to reach, like college students.

Name drop a bit. Who will be there that you're really excited about?

Ed Burns who I mentioned before – we have very few people we've repeated like that, but we like him so much we asked him back. Chris Hughes, one of the founders on Facebook will be there, Biz Stone one of the founders of Twitter, Arianna Huffington is always great. And we'll have a phalanx of CMOs and CEOs.

What about sessions and events?

The Amex/Tribeca/Ed Burns session will be great. So will the sessions with R/GA, Google, Microsoft, and Univision – we have a lot of Latin this year. Facebook, Fast Company and PWC – there's a lot of great stuff.

And Wednesday's concert opening will be TV on the Radio on Microsoft night. We're not announcing that officially for a week.

How does this year's show compare to previous years – what's new?

The biggest difference you'll notice is how big Advertising Week has become. We'll have north of 75,000 people this year – it's the largest event of its kind. The overall growth since 2004 is amazing. We've got an event in Radio City Music Hall, and the closing concert will be in Central Park. Our goal every year is to create the best thought leadership event. It speaks to what we're trying to do. You can't repeat the same old same old every year. This is not a conference, it's a happening. There are no sessions in hotel ballrooms – we're doing it our way. Everything is hand-crafted and a la carte. We want to pack the house and blow the roof off. Luck, as they say, is the residue of design.

What's your personal secret for getting the most out of Advertising Week?

Be fast. Embrace it. This is a marathon not a sprint. There are a lot of things near Times Square – you can get to a lot of it but not all of it, so plan ahead. Be aggressive and attack.

SAY will be at Advertising Week again this year with another panel ... and our epic SAY Media Battle of the Ad Bands, which brings together the greatest bands that ad agencies have to offer.