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The "No Show" countdown continues

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ofMontreal.jpgOne week and counting until what promises to be a dramatically different Chicago Creative Club awards presentation at the Riviera Theater on Sept. 10. As everyone in the local ad industy must know by now, this take on an awards event has been dubbed by its organizers the "No Show," the full meaning of which will no doubt become evident as the evening unfolds.

The show organizers -- Matt Brennock, Liz Ross and Katie Juras -- say some 1,000 tickets, priced at $50 apiece, have been sold so far. And that number is expected to grow, of course, in the final days leading to the event. Yes, there will be a concert by indie pop band Of Montreal after the one-hour awards presentation, as well as some other surprises along the way. "Surprises," in fact, may prove to be the operative word for the evening.

Brennock told us there will be a master of ceremonies, but he won't say who that will be. Just one more surprise, we suppose.

The show of shows -- the advertising event of Chicago's fall season -- is taking firmer shape.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Creative Club Awards show organizers -- Matt Brennock, Liz Ross and Katie Juras -- confirmed the headliner band that will perform at the Sept. 10 extravaganza at the Riviera Theater in Uptown. It is Of Montreal, a Georgia-based band with, interestingly enough, some Canadian influences. The band's Wikipedia entry characterizes Of Montreal as a baroque rock group, which sounds intriguing enough to us, who don't have a great familiarity with the vast number of rock bands out there performing.

But Brennock told us there's also a Cirque du Soleil air about Of Montreal and their performance style. Now Cirque we know something about, and that certainly sounds appealing to us. The band's performance at the Sept. 10 event will come about 30 minutes after the awards presentations are concluded, Brennock said. And he hopes having a band with some genuine cred in the music industry and a large following will be yet one more incentive for hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have avoided previous CCC events to check out this year's event.

Brennock said he is pleased about how well -- given all the obstacles they have had to confront -- things have gone so far with the show planning. Of course, they could always go better, he conceded. Toward that end, Brennock was set to meet with DraftFCB leader Howard Draft this morning to ensure Draft is on board and committed to making the Sept. 10 show as great as humanly possible.

Despite the willingness of so many people to lend a helping hand (especially Tom Duff of Optimus), Brennock said there still have been troubling pockets of resistance to what the show organizers are trying to achieve. Somehow we're not surprised. Too many people in the local ad community, we've sadly concluded, are fearful of change, which can be threatening. And given the upheaval the ad industry has faced -- especially in Chicago -- fear itself is another factor that makes it difficult for some to embrace the new and the unknown.

But we continue to applaud Brennock, Ross and Juras for trying to make a difference, shake things up a bit and do something for the entire, extended advertising community. If there is indeed an extended ad community worth saving and honoring in Chicago, all that are part of that community would do well to circle Sept. 10 on their calendars now, purchase their $50 tickets at www.chicagoadfed.org/CCCAwards/ccc.html, and be there at the Riviera. It may very well prove a night and a "No Show" to remember. In the nicest, most inclusive way.

More from the front lines of the Chicago Creative Club Awards show, which a trio of organizers -- Matt Brennock, Liz Ross and Katie Juras -- are hard at work producing. We hear there now will be not one, but two bands performing at the awards show at the Riviera Theater on Sept. 10. One band will play at 30-minute set at the top of the evening, and the other will perform at the end of the night, after the awards for advertising excellence have been given out, and everyone is getting into that major party mode. There also will be be a good-natured, laugh-out-loud video presentation featuring some familiar, beloved figures within the local ad industry and others who, well, may not be quite so beloved by all who toil at making advertising hereabouts. We'll leave it at that for now.

She's back. After being abruptly dismissed by Tribal DDB several months ago, Liz Ross is back as chief growth officer for Digitas' United States operations. Though she will continue to live and operate out of Chicago, Ross said she will report to and work closely with Digitas executives based on the east coast, including CEO Laura Lang and global Chief Marketing Officer Seth Solomons.

Ross said one of her top priorities will be driving new business to Digitas. But in order to do that, she told us she will have a hand in ensuring the firm's creative is where it needs to be attract and hold on to new business. Ross will serve on Digitas' Global Growth Committee, helmed by Solomons.

When she was ousted from Tribal DDB earlier this year, Ross was the firm's president of U.S. operations and global chief marketing officer.

Liz Ross back in biz?

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We hear digital honcho Liz Ross, cut loose from Tribal DDB earlier this year, is thisclose to signing with a new firm, probably here in Chicago. A couple details regarding her new gig have yet to be finalized, but word has it that Ross will be back in business sooner rather than later. Ross disappeared suddenly from Tribal DDB, and not much was said at the time about the reasons for her departure. But Ross has subsequently been a presence on the talk circuit and was heard to make remarks that suggest she wasn't exactly cool about the way things were handled at Tribal DDB in regards to her tenure there and her abrupt exit. Since leaving Tribal DDB, Ross has been busy helping organize the upcoming Chicago Creative Awards show "No Show" set for Sept. 10.

Rejoice, ad folk. That sorely-missing sense of community within the Chicago ad biz appears to be in the early stages of finally making itself manifest. We stress, of course, that word "appears," because as we all know in the Chicago ad world, appearances can sometimes be deceiving.

In a previous blog posting we tried to calm concerns that the organizers of the upcoming Chicago Creative Club Awards show on Sept. 10 might do away with a judged ad competition. They have told us that is not what they intend to do.

But what they are intent on doing, in addition to organizing the September event, is helping to foster a real feeling of camaraderie that has been too-long absent in the local ad business, which has suffered mightily in recent years. Towards that end Matt Brennock, Liz Ross and Katie Juras -- the chief organizers of the upcoming CCC show --have also organized what they hope will be the first of quarterly happy hours to bring together all who toil in the local ad biz.

This first get-together is slated for June 25th at Lizzie McNeill's pub at 400 N. McClurg Court, beginning at 6 p.m. And we're happy to say that Stephen Leps and his crew at Zig/Chicago have stepped up to sponsor this first gathering for all who call themselves Chicago ad folk.

So mark your calendars. And let the camaraderie begin.

"Party!" Now there's an exhortation that is sure to get the attention of a lot of local ad agency professionals who have suffered through a lot of miserable weather and agency downsizing in recent weeks. And there it was at the top of an open house invite emailed to us today. The man who invited us (yes, even us) to the office-warming event next week is David Stevenson, who is apparently anxious to show off the new digs of the agency he founded called Two by Four/Chicago. Among the shop's most high-profile clients, locally anyway, is the Chicago Bears. Two by Four, as Stevenson will tell you, used to be the lead agency for the Chicago White Sox, but then they weren't. And we'll say no more. It's a sensitive subject for Stevenson.

Still losing the White Sox account hasn't stopped Stevenson and his agency from moving on up and around in the local ad world to new offices at 10 N. Dearborn St., in the heart of the Loop. Several Chicago ad industry sources who have visited the offices told us how cool the new Two by Four space is. There's even reportedly a Sun-Times newspaper honor box at the entrance. How neat.

Though he always seems to be busy with one client or another, Stevenson may have a little more time over the next few months to enjoy his new office space, because he has passed responsibility for organizing the next Chicago Creative Club awards show to two new leaders: Matt Brennock of Fusion Idea Lab/Chicago and Liz Ross of Tribal DDB/Chicago. We know Stevenson worked hard to make a success of the 2008 awards show honoring the best creative work from Chicago ad agencies, and the event really was a vast improvement over the previous several sorry CCC shows. Now let's hope Brennock and Ross can match what Stevenson made happen.

In the meantime, let's party!

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Liz Ross category.

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