Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's true. Schwarzenegger appears at Advertising Week

The first highlight of the Ad Club of New York's lunch honoring Bobby Shriver for his (Product) RED work was that brother -in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped by. (I know my two pictures here aren't great, but but I'm a writer not a photographer dammit! In the one at left, you can see Arnold's profile and in the bottom right hand corner, Russell Simmons; and in the second you can see O. Burtch Drake in the bottom left hand corner, and, if you have really good eyesight, Arnold off to Drake's right. "O." is not a luminary, exactly, but pictured here to confirm that this was, indeed, an Ad Club event). Showing up was all Arnold did, but let's just say that the discernible buzz in the room made sightings of mere mortals like Ron Berger, Trey Laird and Tom Carroll a whole lot less interesting. Just think of what would've happened if Bono had shown up. (He only appeared by videotape claiming that he didn't come because Bobby is taller than he is.)
The second highlight, provided by Russell Simmons, came when he took the podium and claimed that a standard opening line when Shriver gets on the phone—and apparently he's on the phone a lot—is "Im working for the poor people. What the fuck are you doing?"
Shriver for his part, outshone even at his own event by the aforementioned Arnold, Simmons, sister Maria and cousin Caroline, said,"It's so great being [known as] Bono's partner, because growing up I was President Kennedy's nephew." For him, it was clear that the highlight was the—I believe unplanned—speech given to the audience by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the minister of foreign affairs of Nigeria, who just happened to be in town for something or other at the UN. She gave an impassioned speech asking the audience to help rebrand Africa, which she said Product (RED) was already doing by putting people in Africa to work. One thing I hadn't realized—and I'm sure this point had been lost on much of the audience—is that some of the products in the RED portfolio are actually being made in Africa, particularly some of these cool Converse shoes.
There was one thing I found annoying: For all the luminaries that were there it was troubling to hear the guys from Modernista!, who developed the advertising, simply referred to as "the guys from Modernista." Though Shriver made the audience recognize them a second time because they weren't in the room during their first chance to stand and wave, it would have been good to hear their names. OK, enough quibbling. I had fun and isn't life all about me having fun?

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