More Random Notes From The Account Planning Conference

There are only two types of Account Planners in America: Forty-something Brits and Twenty-something Americans. That’s it. I’m not sure if that bodes well for the future of Account Planning, because those British accents can really give any presentation an aura of legitimacy.
This whole conference is awash in…greenwashing. From carbon-neutral ad agency networks and Gore worshipping to a presentation by the Method company of cleaning products (which was founded by an ex-agency account planner), you’d think the entire world has the environment top of mind and is actively seeking something to do about it. Of course, here at the Account Planning conference, brands are the answer to the earth’s fragile state. I hope they’re recycling the thousands of bottled water containers people are using around here.
Prior to a session featuring Kevin Wall, the coordinator of Live Earth, there were two things placed on every seat: A sheet describing “Tips on how to lead a more carbon neutral lifestyle,” and a brochure, enclosed in a clear plastic sleeve, from a company promoting “freehand advertising,” a media vehicle in which “our agents distribute free packets of paper to students campus-wide with your ad at the top of every page.” I simply can’t get my mind around that paradox.
Google is a sponsor here, and has about 13 people attending the conference. Same for Yahoo. No one from Crispin is on the attendee list, and I think there’s only one or two Goodby people here. That says quite a bit about the shift taking place in the ad industry.
I think it’s a rule here that if you give a speech or lead a session, you need to do a PowerPoint presentation interspersed with videos plucked from YouTube. And don’t forget a clever commercial or two to prove the point. Although I have to say, the presentations here need a little better art direction. Believe me, advertising people aren’t immune to making bad PowerPoints.
There was an odd presentation by Greg MacGillivray, who’s made a number of IMAX films. While he was talking about his Everest film, my agency planner turned to me and asked, “What’s the relevance of this?” I didn’t know. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, MacGillivray’s presentation morphed into a sales pitch for corporate sponsorship of IMAX films. So if your brand could benefit from sponsoring an IMAX film, well, you should get in on it.
We’ve heard a number of good case studies as part of the Jay Chiat Planning Awards, but special congrats to Cramer-Krasselt, which is in the running for the Planning Grand Prix for its Rozerem work featuring Abe Lincoln and the Beaver:

It’s one of the more intriguing case studies that’s been presented here, tapping into the emotional power (and random nature) of dreams to connect with consumers. No matter what you think of pharmaceutical advertising in general, I definitely appreciate the approach they took to injecting new thinking into selling something as dull as sleep aids.
By the way, San Diego is frickin’ gorgeous. And did you know it has a Little Italy neighborhood? It’s sweet.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.