Panel Paralysis

So here’s a question to mull during Ad Week in New York: why is the ad industry — which is obsessed with the idea of building brands, consumed with engaging the consumer, preoccupied with massaging the message — so often so dreadful at presenting itself?

Take the annual kick off: The Parade of Icons. Last year, it was an embarrassingly lame parade of convertibles with characters like Tony the Tiger and Ronald McDonald on board that limped down Madison Avenue, stopping for lights, presumably since nobody had warned the cops that a Big Event was about to take place. Remember: this is a city that shuts down Fifth Avenue regularly for things like Khazak Awareness Day. This year, the parade was goose-stepped through Times Square without its showstopper Budweiser Clydesdales because the NYPD nixed the idea. Didn’t anybody bother to call first?

I just got back from a panel on the future of the 30-second spot, which could have been interesting except for the fact that the moderator, in what must have been payback for help on his new book, assembled a panel of six talking heads, and then lobbed questions that each answered in turn. Had this been a 30-second spot, I would have TIVOed through it in a heartbeat.

There must be a better way to deliver information from experts and pundits than the tedious panel. Anybody seen any formats that are more appealing? This industry could use some fresh ideas.