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A Wicked Good Panel

No sooner was I done kvetching about the tedious panel problem afflicting this year’s Ad Week, than I got my comeuppance, compliments of the folks who know best how to put on a show.

No sooner was I done kvetching about the tedious panel problem afflicting this year’s Ad Week, than I got my comeuppance, compliments of the folks who know best how to put on a show.

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The panel “Creatives on Broadway,” featuring this year’s creative heavy hitters — David Lubars of BBDO, Lee Clow of TBWA\Chiat\Day, and Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter — assembled on the stage of the Gershwin Theater, better known as home to the musical sensation, “Wicked.” Fittingly, for the Wizards behind such work as the BMW Internet films (Lubars), the iPod advertising (Clow), and the Subservient Chicken site (Bogusky), the three were seated on thrones in front of an emerald curtain.

But the best part of the show was first, as Megan Hilty, who plays Glinda the Good Witch in the production, belted out an hilarious spoof of “Popular,” one of the show’s best-loved tunes A sample of the lyrics:

“We’ll get more people clickin’ than
on that damn Subservient Chicken!
We’ll guerilla market you to death.
It will be
Integrated, all that jazz, swell
slogans like ol’ Pepsi has, well
don’t just “make the log bigger”
Oh, save your breath.

OK — so not many sessions can crib a Broadway star to kick it off, but pre-screening the talking heads to make sure they’re not just vanity panelists and vetting the moderator goes a long way to keeping things yawn-free.

This panel had several high points: the best defense ever of why focusing on ROI is often misguided (from Lee Clow, mastermind behind the brilliant iPod advertising, who argued that the best advertising in the world couldn’t save a product that sucked), the truth behind CP+B’s campaign for the Mini Cooper that began with a billboard that said, “the SUV Backlash starts here (there was no backlash; they made it up); and an extended discussion, begun by David Lubars, on why he has a strict “no assholes” hiring policy.

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I confess, I kept my finger off the fast-forward button on my TIVO remote, and left humming.

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About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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