Saturday, May 16, 2009

why make it so hard for kids to crash the party?

Attendance was down at the Clios this year, confirmed by Nielsen's Director of Events Karl Vontz who added, sounding upbeat, that the quality of attendees was better--meaning that those able to wangle expenses from lean travel departments were execs higher on agency hierarchies.

Notably diminished in number were the eager young who swarm shows, making no secret they're trying to jump levels or jump shop.

One junior team came at their own expense--which didn't include the price of the $1550+ tickets. A freelance writer and AD from San Francisco anointed themselves "Crash the Clios."

"Why are we doing this," they asked on their blog. (Of course--they had a blog.) Because no one is going to send us... because it’s the 50th anniversary... because we feel all you need in advertising to make it is cojones and a good story. Truth was, they were there for the same reason many others were: to make connections that could lead to work.

At first, their attempts to infiltrate were thwarted by hotel security. The show was held at the Hard Rock Hotel, host to Rehab TV shoots for which security is tantamount to training for the old KGB. But thanks to intervention of Agency Spy, they managed to procure passes and spent the next couple of days live-tweeting, milling about and generally contributing to conversation.

My question is--why were they so resented? When Agency Spy posted about their presence, comments ranged from nasty: The last things creatives want to do at award shows is meet eager people looking for a job to vitriolic: Rather than sending some naive kids into the clios to pester folks who paid good money to be there, howsabout going and doing YOUR damn job and getting us the skinny on what's happening out there?

Have we become the type of business that eats its young? OK, financial investing in the next generation may be a thing of the past (remember paid internships and executive training sessions?) but a word of advice or encouragement costs nothing--yet proves invaluable to those launching careers. Remember?

Did the reaction have to do with a new meanspiritedness on Madison Avenue that Alan Wolk observed recently? Or did people unconsciously feel they were doing a favor by imparting the lesson most needed to succeed in this business: overcoming rejection.

Crash the Clios Team comes out of hiding to disclose contact info. (Now that they're safely back in SF and no longer in fear of retribution by Hard Rock security goons.) Good luck to art director Patrice Speed and copywriter Christopher Ryan. Hope your ingenuity and chutzpah pays off in card keys.

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