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I was immersed in a sea of advertising professionals. Looking around, I observed a very eclectic group, but it didn’t have the appearance or feel of a crowd for a Snoop Dogg concert, or even a rap show in general. I’m being highly judgmental, but I’m sure that the 50-year-old White lady next to me, who was dressed in corporate attire and had a lost look on her face, doesn’t know the lyrics to “Ain’t No Fun”.

The advertising world arrived in New York City this past week for NewFronts where many digital publishers presented new ad opportunities through new programming and content. It’s a big deal, as most of these companies rely on advertising for their main revenue streams, which make NewFronts a large-scale show-and-tell to prove to brands and ad agencies that they’re actually relevant. Companies fork out huge chunks of their marketing budgets for extravagant spectacles, and AOL took over the South Street Seaport, throwing an event with free food, booze, and performance by Snoop Dogg to hopefully close those deals.

Before the Doggfather took the stage, Mark Ecko appeared. I used to be a big fan of Ecko Unlimited back in the day before it became another played out “urban” clothing line found in Macy’s. However, Ecko did launch the Complex Network, which is one of the most popular channels among the youth demographic (Verizon and Hearst just bought Complex for $300 million). Ecko presented a quick sizzle to convince potential partners that Complex is the ideal vehicle to reach Gen Z and Millennials, and then proceeded to bring out Snoop. He performed three songs and even brought out Wiz Khalifa for “Young, Wild, and Free”, and after the 20 minute show, the first thing I thought was “How much did AOL pay him for this?”

NewFronts

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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