Sometimes it’s the random celebrity sighting like recent visitors Michael Douglas and Glenn Close that gives Michael’s that jolt of adrenaline during our weekly Wednesday visits. And sometimes it’s the sheer power quotient of the dining room that gets our attention. As one regular told me: “I can always tell who is looking for money and who is writing the checks when I come here. It’s the best business scorecard around.”
Today I was joined by power publicist Catherine Saxton, who knows just about everybody but never spins and tells, and Richard Smullen, co-founder and CEO of Beezag and AdGenesis. We had a fascinating chat about the ‘wild west’ of Internet advertising and how absolutely maddening those unwanted pop-up ads are. When Richard launched Beezag last November with Laurent Alhadeff, they created a different kind of online advertising environment which they’ve cleverly coined as ‘Me-commerce.’ Richard explains beezag’s consumer-centric marketing concept this way: “It’s about relevancy and reward. Consumers watch entertaining branded content and video ads they love and get discounts they deserve because they’re thanked with special offers and incentives from advertisers.”
By matching brands to the consumers who want to hear about them, Richard reports that beezag delivers clients an average of 25 percent click-through rates. The members-only, opt-in multi-platform community has some pretty serious brainpower behind it. Richard tells me his ‘executive council’ of advisors includes Gerry Byrne, Wenda Millard, Michael Kassan and Bob Friedman. For someone who just landed in New York from South Africa in January of last year, Richard seems to have figured out pretty quickly how to make things happen in Manhattan. We’re impressed.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Boy wonder Jared Kushner with his dad Charles, presiding over a table full of movers and shakers. The New York Observer owner must have had some big deal brewing, because he stepped outside several times to take a very important call. Or perhaps it was just the missus, Ivanka Trump, asking what to make for dinner.
2. My friend and PR maven extraordinaire Lisa Linden and former Bush administration advisor Charles Millard, celebrating the launch of Charles’ new venture specializing in pension funds and financial services, Cardinal Advisors.
3. Catherine Saxton, Richard Smullen and yours truly
4. LVMH’s David Anton
5. Producer Stanley Jaffe with an equally distinguished looking gent
6. Men’s Health honcho and newly minted restaurateur David Zinczenko with, we’re told, a group of folks from Yahoo!
7. HLPR’s Lisa Dallos and pals
8. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower, looking lovely in lavender. We congratulated Alex on the big news that Estee Lauder has just signed model Liu Wen as one of the new faces of the brand. This marks the first time an Asian woman has been tapped to represent a U.S. cosmetic label. The Chinese stunner joins Lauder ladies Elizabeth Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow and is sure to bring her own unique brand of glamour to the mix.
9. The Museum of Radio & Television’s Pat Mitchell
11. My good friend Fern Mallis, who just last week announced she was leaving her position at IMG to open her own consultancy. It’s truly the end of an era for all of us who have flocked to the New York Fashion Week tents every September and February to witness Fern perform the Herculean task of marshalling the biggest names in fashion all in one place. Now it’s onward and upward. Fern, who signed IMG as a client, most certainly has plenty of big deals in the works. Stay tuned.
12. Project Playlist’s CEO John Sykes, who made the rounds shaking hands on the way to his table.