Last weekend, I had the privilege of participating in a bi-annual advertising conference organized by a non-profit organization called Ad 2. Ad 2 is a division of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and together, these groups foster professional development for advertising and marketing professional all over the country.
Ad 2 especially focuses on professional development for those aged 32 and under, through public service and education, in order to promote and protect the well-being of the advertising industry. I attended their Mid-Year Retreat in Las Vegas one, because I am a board member of Ad 2 Tampa Bay, and two, because it’s a great opportunity to share ideas with my marketing peers.
And So It Begins…
Activities started right when I landed as my group and I had a couple of agency tours scheduled for the day. Since we are comprised of young advertising and marketing professionals, it only made sense to connect with local agencies in Vegas to see how the market is compared to that in Tampa Bay.
One of the agencies that hosted us was R&R Partners. R&R Partners began back in the ‘70s and really set the blueprint for how political campaigns are run today. They eventually moved on to more commercial accounts and the company has become the top marketing agency in Nevada. Their most notable campaign is the famous “What Happens Here, Stays Here” slogan (created for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) that Las Vegas is widely known for.
They were also responsible for the #VEGASSTRONG movement that came about after the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. In short, these people really know what they’re doing, and it was amazing meeting some of the staff in their huge home office in Vegas (including the CEO himself, Billy Vassiliadis).
Next up was a smaller, but just as awesome, internet marketing agency called Internet Marketing Inc. Their main office is in San Diego but luckily, I was able to visit their satellite office in Vegas to see what they were all about. IMI Vegas has also worked with some pretty heavy hitters, including ARIA Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
I got to speak at length with Joe Arduini, the SEO manager fondly referred to in the office as “SEO Joe,” about his day-to-day operations at IMI Vegas and how he stays creative in online marketing. The IMI Vegas team also showed us some of their amazing campaigns for ARIA and Cirque du Soleil, and made sure to give us the inside scoop on the best Vegas restaurants to try during our stay.
Ad 2 Mid-Year Retreat
Hosted in the office of the avant garde event planning company, Fresh Wata, my colleagues and I were able to speak with president, Tricia Costello, about how she got started in event planning and why she makes it a point to implement an interactive and tech-y twist to all her projects.
The rest of the conference featured conversing with other marketers and advertisers from all over the country (Tucson, Denver, Dallas, even Honolulu) doing all sorts or jobs (Art Directors, SEO Specialists, Copywriters, and more) in all stages of their careers. We spoke of challenges in our careers, advised each other on better communication in our respective organization chapters, and participated in exercises where we worked together to resolve hypothetical situations.
My favorite scenario working with my team was to figure out a game plan when “a deadline is fast approaching and you need approval from your client to move forward. Unfortunately, the client, who was very eager and enthusiastic in the beginning, is rarely responsive now.” This is an issue that our office has dealt with many times, and it was great hearing how people from other agencies have dealt with this phenomenon.
This weekend really flew by and after a farewell dinner with my colleagues, I said my goodbyes, took a red eye back to Tampa and it was back to work a couple hours later. I won’t forget the amazing young creatives I met as well as the lessons I learned from seasoned professionals in the industry and I cannot wait to apply my knew knowledge to the operations at thirteen05.