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December 13, 2006

Promotion Marketing Association Law Conference: Report from the Field Part One

The 28th Annual Promotion Marketing Law Conference was held at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago yesterday and today.  The meeting was held by the Promotion Marketing Association and sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, Loeb & Loeb LLP, and Manatt.  Many of the featured speakers and panelists were drawn from major law firms, corporations, and regulatory agencies.  Their presentations focused on the legal ramifications of advertising, where technology was taking the markets, and the present and future of regulations, particularly with data preservation and privacy laws.

So where to marketers, or more specifically, their lawyers, think marketing and advertising is going.  We know it’s on the web, but the web changes so fast compared to traditional media that the trends come and go at lightning speed.  The presentation by Ron Urbach (Davis and Gilbert LLP) highlighted the internationalization of media and the diversification of media channels.  The rise of interactive content (YouTube and others) has great potential and impact on ad campaigns. 

The potential is there as advertisers can reach people who have fled over the air broadcasts and even cable for online and portable entertainment.  The impact is through the design of ads and media for these platforms.  Viral advertising is more than creating an online buzz.  It may also involve the consumer in actually creating the ads and distributing them through various web channels.  This raises copyright and standards issue in that consumers don’t always present products in the best light.  Consumers don’t always respect the copyright laws when assembling music and video images in a promotion.  Nor do consumers respect where they post their final product.  That’s one reason why everyone in the room is concerned about the Universal lawsuit against MySpace.  No one wants their brand to be involved in intellectual property disputes where they have little or no control over the presentation.

Another development that advertisers are keenly aware of is the rise of online social networking.  This is another trend that seemed not to exist about two years ago.  Now everyone is concerned about it because they want to go where they eyeballs go.   If anything, the buzz in the foyer between shows found the words “social networking” coming up in a lot of conversations.

The conference covered a lot more issues than this.  There were major presentations revolving around data retention and privacy by Joel Winston of the Federal Trade Commission, panels on sports contracts, and other types of technologies used in advertising on the web and traditional media.  I’ll be reporting on the rest of the content over the next few days as I digest it.

I do want to point out some things about the meeting that I thought were particularly good.  The coordination of the meeting was excellent.  The written materials are a great legal analysis of the state of marketing law as it currently exists.  There are over 1,000 pages of text and virtually all of it useful to practitioners and academics alike.  The accompanying CD ROM has many of the inserts as PDFs and also has a lot of sample forms of agreement for advertising and entertainment.

The audio and video that accompanied each speaker was striking.  Much of it was produced by outside video production houses and integrated with PowerPoint presentations via scripts.  Those handling the audio and video chores did a great job integrating these elements.  The over all impression was that these presentations were entertaining as well as information, and the support staff who made it work are real pros.

I’ll be reporting on other issues that came up at the conference over the next few days.

December 13, 2006 | Permalink

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