Hail! Hail! The Wednesday gang is all here. The lunch scene at Michael’s was firing on all cylinders today as moguls (Barry Diller! Roger Ailes!), high-profile editors (David Zinczenko, Cindi Leive) and a heaping helping of talking heads (Kathie Lee Gifford, Ashleigh Banfield, Joe Kernen, Larry Kudlow and Andrew Ross Sorkin) made for a tasty media stew. There was actually gridlock in the dining room as the famous and fabulous stood in the aisles to intercept friends (and possible future employers?) on their way to their tables.
The biggest crowd was circling around Table One where Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller and Gerry Byrne (who is on parent company Penske Media Corp’s board) were hosting their monthly lunch where they bring together an interesting mix of folk to “cross-pollinate” says Bonnie, who leads the group as they chew over the latest trends in media (particularly in the digital space) and weigh in on how it affects their respective businesses. Gerry was the lone man among a table full of opinionated, highly successful women who weighed in on everything from reality stars — we learned Ashleigh Banfield is more than a little obsessed with the Kardashian sisters — to intellectual property. Designer Heather Thomson told the group that she spent $2.5 million in a lawsuit against lingerie giant Maidenform when she charged them with copying her patented three-panel tank top. She was awarded $6.57 million as settlement. Her takeaway: “Innovation needs to be protected.”
Leading the cheer for all that is digital, Bonnie said, “I’m so happy I crossed over from print” and is hooked by the immediacy of it all. “As a magazine editor, I felt like I was having a one-way conversation so much of the time,” she said of her stints as editor- in-chief at Glamour, Us Weekly and Cosmo. “At Hollywoodlife.com, we are intensely focused on our relationships with women with a need to know about the things they are about right now.” Bonnie says the site is now getting 4.7 million monthly uniques who come to get their fix on everything concerning Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, Justin Bieber and the Kardashian sisters.
The liveliest part of the conversation came when the group weighed in on how to keep up with the head spinning rate of changes occurring online as it relates to reaching consumers and turning clicks into sales. Nicole Miller said she has staffers who manage her blog, Facebook page and Twitter account, and she is currently developing a Nicole Miller app. Shenan Reed, who founded digital ad agency Morpheus Media a decade ago, said, “As a brand, you really have to be everywhere. The idea of going to one place to reach the 18-34 market is over. It’s not about the demographic anymore; it’s about understanding the consumer’s mindset at a particular time.” Shenan’s agency specializes in luxury brands and is responsible for Louis Vuitton’s twitter account. She encourages her clients to think outside the box when planning their online ad schedule: “The old rules don’t apply anymore.”
And that’s not the only thing that’s yesterday’s news. The group agreed that the idea of employer loyalty is over for good. Having had decades of experience running media companies, Gerry explained the best advice he also gives his students at Fordham University: “You have to think like an entrepreneur. The days of working for one company for 20 years are gone. And, if you are working for a company, you have to be the one that comes up with the big ideas and follows through on them.”
1. Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller, Black Ocean’s Gerry Byrne, Penske Media Corp president Aly Racer, designer Nicole Miller, ABC News’ Ashleigh Banfield, Give Back Beauty’s Noreen Dodge, Iconix CMO Dari Marder and media and marketing director Evernolia Gillespie, Morpheus Media founder Shenan Reed, Relevad Media Group CEO Maryse Thomas, Yummie Tummie founder and designer Heather Thomson, and yours truly.
2. The Today show’s Kathie Lee Gifford and a chic looking gal we didn’t get to meet. We have to give it to Kathie: Every time we see her she looks better and better. Today she was rocking a navy blue lace mini dress with a tough chic zipper up the back, and she was positively glowing. What’s your secret? Whatever it is, she should bottle it and sell it.
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Men’s Health honcho David Zinczenko (Long time no see!). Joe tells me he’s headed back to Israel to open the first ‘Hole in the Wall Gang’ camp for critically ill kids of all religions. “And while the kids are there, the parents have to get together and talk. It’s a small step towards world peace,” says Joe of the latest camp for the amazing organization founded by the late Paul Newman. Mazel tov!
4. Producer Freddie Gershon and a well heeled pal
5. The always dapper Stan Shuman of Allen & Co.
6. Hudson News’ James Cohen
7. Interpublic Media’s Mark Rosenthal
8. CNBC’s Joe Kernen and his new-ish Squawk Box co-anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times. (Find out how growing up in Scarsdale shaped the Too Big To Fail author in my profile of him in this month’s Westchester magazine). The guys asked me to weigh in on what their Halloween costumes should be on Monday. Since they’ve become something of a dynamic duo, perhaps Batman and Robin (the old school version) would be a fitting choice. Like they used to say on the old TV series, tune in next week, same Bat channel to find out what they’ll be wearing.
9. Edelman Financial’s Kathy Lacey
14. Barry Diller
15. Hearst’s high priestess of PR, Deb Shriver
16. Stylista Mickey Ateyeh
81. Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff, on the mend from some painful surgery on his finger, with Carol Stern. Henry tells me things are going great guns these days on the network. Homicide Hunter, featuring a Colorado detective who has solved over 350 murders in two decades, premiered last night and The Will makes its debut tonight. This sounds like a winner to us: The show chronicles some of the most contentious court cases surrounding the settlement of the estates of the rich, famous and dead. Tonight’s show looks at the battle for sixties song man Frankie Limon‘s millions.
19. Julie Cohen
20. The perennially chic Cindi Leive, who got a big hello from Joe and Dave at Table Three. We don’t know what designer the Glamour editrix was sporting today, but we absolutely adored her to-die-for black ensemble.
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher
22. Howard Sloan Koller’s Ed Koller
23. UBS’ Aryeh Bourkoff
25. Tom Goodman
27. Uber agent Rob Weisbach
29. Joel Moser
Faces in the crowd: The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and Lewis Stein… Catherine Saxton and a dapper gent in The Garden Room… At the bar: designer David Biscaye, fresh from Italy where he was “buying and selling” lots of fabulous furnishings. Ciao!
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