Allison Arden was the keynote speaker at NYWICI's annual meeting on May 17, the vice president and publisher of Advertising Age and the author of The Book of Doing: Everyday Activities to Unlock Creativity and Joy.
Why advertising? "When I was searching for a career, my mother pointed out that I loved magazine advertising. It was my art. I hung it on my walls at camp, inside my closet, on my dorm-room walls. I realized I have a passion for creativity and I love seeing creativity in others. Being in a position to celebrate creativity and raise the value of it in society is a very happy place for me."
Today's ad biz "It's still finding its way as we continue to redefine what 'advertising' means now. Advertising has changed for the better, as it is so much more of a conversation now and allows marketers an opportunity to engage with their customers in a more meaningful way."
Beauty or beast? "Technology can be an incredible tool as long as we don't allow it to control or distract us, or stand in the way of real dialogue. There are times I need to put my BlackBerry in a drawer or shut off my computer to focus on a conversation or project. As a full-time working
mom, I appreciate how efficient it allows me to be. But without visual or verbal cues, there are times where you can be misinterpreted. We can often get so much more accomplished and have so much more fun if we spend time together rather than hiding behind email and conference calls."
Catharsis "When I became publisher of Ad Age, I was juggling lots of great roles, but not enjoying it as much as I wanted. My friends and I joked that we were living the dream, but we weren't supposed to look this harried in the dream. I started paying attention to what made me happy and stressed. I decided to begin approaching everything in a way that made it feel more fun and less pressure-filled — more as an exploration, rather than as a rush to get from point A to point B. I realized a lot of people were experiencing the same kind of stress and unhappiness. The book became a way to share my experience with others."
Fashion faux pas "The blue eye shadow I wore one day about 15 years ago has followed me around on my driver's license picture ever since. It's a reminder that this is an awful look for me, and never to do it again — ever."
Best "Mad Man" "Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery). He always makes me laugh."
— As told to Michelle Lodge