Archive for December, 2012

Times Squared – or – Billboard Heaven

Here it is, the cross-roads of the world, the home of New Year’s Eve…just about 12 hours too soon.  


This is the place to see and be seen…at least if you are a brand.  It makes me feel like I’m living inside a game arcade like Wreck-It Ralph.  When your brand has reached Times Square it is part of the establishment, it’s Broadway.  

Often companies will have a celebration here when their own billboard lights up, or when they appear on the NASDAQ billboard.  It’s a marketing event.  A global stage.

For the cutting edge of branding you have to go elsewhere — off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway.  Times Square is NASDAQ, Sony, Samsung, Mini, American Airlines Theater, Marriott, Duncan Donuts, Pepsi, HBO…


This is deliberate, of course.  The city mandated the huge billboards during the Redevelopment  of Times Square in the early 1980s.  Yes, that’s right, the city that outlaws smoking in Central Park and buying sodas larger than 16 oz has insisted on packing this area with billboards.  



My first New Year’s Eve in Times Square was 1978.  It was a very, very different place.  The word “sleaze” was coined to describe the area.  It was the perfect setting for a punk-rock movie about a girl band named, yes, The Sleaze Sisters in the 1980 movie Times Square (sound track with songs by The Pretenders, Talking Heads, Ramones).  




Two Good Things For You

Good Thing #1: Get Social!

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, 12/4 is the annual NYAMA holiday party.  A great way to see friends, to network.  A great way  support post-Hurricaine Sandy rebuilding of NY.

Donations collected at the party will be made to the Mayor’s Fund for the Advancement of New York.  This fund has been at the forefront in helping the people and their communities who continue to suffer from the aftermath of October’s storm.

The party is from 6 to 8 pm.  It is being hosted by JWT at 466 Lexington Avenue.  You can sign up at or pay at the door.

Hope to see you there!


Good Thing #2: Get Ahead

One of the two or three absolute best Branding and Marketing conferences of the year is put on by The Conference Board on January 31st & February 1st.    Each year Lee Hornick gathers together a terrific group of corporate marketing and branding executives.  This year he has put together a terrific program.

Speakers include:

  • Brian Angiolet the VP of Marketing at Verizon Wireless
  • Lisa Fawcett, the VP of Global Marketing at Coopervision
  • Niharika Shah, VP of Marketing and Advertising Strategy at Prudential Financial
  • Michael Babikian, EVP/CMO of Transamerica Corporation

Why am I so keen on this conference?

Three reasons:

1.  I went to this conference when I was developing the Narrative Branding method.  It gave me a chance to see if this breakthrough really addressed the issues of corporate marketers and agencies.  The feedback and insights and support that I found there were invaluable to me.

2.  The NYAMA is a sponsor this year because we recognize this important forum for developing and celebrating brilliance in marketing.  Senior people from around the country will gather for two days to exchange ideas.

3. It’s at the Westin Hotel, about 30 feet from my office.  How could I not go?

I hope to see you at both of these great events!


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