New Jersey's Advertising Industry Flexes Its Muscle at "The Roundtable"

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Many of New Jersey's most respected marketing communications leaders met to explore the challenges, contributions and future course of the marketing communications industry in the state at The Roundtable, an industry forum sponsored by the New Jersey Advertising Club.

Many of New Jersey's most respected marketing communications leaders, representing advertising and public relations agencies, advertisers, and the media met to explore the challenges, contributions and future course of the marketing communications industry in the state at The Roundtable, an industry forum sponsored by the New Jersey Advertising Club. The September 15 event took place at The Conference Center at Montclair State University, and was moderated by New Jersey television and media commentator Steve Adubato.

The thrust of the discussion focused on the huge contribution the entire umbrella of the marketing/communications industry contributes to the state's economy. Initial tallies suggest that the components "above the line" generate approximately $10 billion worth of revenue and thousands of jobs, as well as training opportunities. In addition, hundreds of support services are involved in facilitating the day-to-day operations of these advertising agencies, advertisers and media companies.

"That's a force to be reckoned with," said Ad Club President Stu Bodow in his keynote to The Roundtable.

Panelists and questioners from the audience commented on the difficulties associated with New Jersey's geographic position - between the country's largest media market in New York, and its fourth largest in Philadelphia. Panelist Robert C. Provost, Director of Marketing for The Star-Ledger pointed out that both New York and Philadelphia draw large portions of their audience from New Jersey, and that, if measured as a media market, New Jersey would rank as the fifth largest market in the country.

"The challenge is to convince New Jersey companies that they can find the highest caliber of advertising, marketing and PR services right here in New Jersey, without the need to take their business out of state," commented panelist Paul Rotella, President of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association.

A.J. Khubani, founder and chief executive officer of the Fairfield-based Telebrands, which sells products via direct-response television commercials, said his company built a "multi-hundred-million-dollar" business by buying advertising from New Jersey agencies because they delivered "great service, great creativity and were cheaper than New York City" firms.

"Advertising firms, marketing and public relations agencies and media businesses in New Jersey need to work together to brand the state as a worthy market for advertising dollars," added Adubato.

The Roundtable participants were made up of noted marketing communications professionals from every aspect of the state's communications industry. Participating were:

o Mark Albin, Vice President of Marketing for The Newark Museum
o Gerald Allen, General Manager, CBS Outdoor
o Bryce Rudolph, President/Chief Operating Officer, Winning Edge Communications
o Wendy Flanagan, co-President of Murray Media
o A.J. Khubani, CEO of Telebrands
o John Leonardi, President of Brushfire Advertising
o Robert Lettiere, Director of Business Planning & Development at Block & DeCorso Advertising
o John Lonsdorf, President of R&J Public Relations
o Catherine Merchant Jones, Marketing Director, Prudential
o Robert Provost, Director of Marketing for The Star-Ledger
o Jason Rand, President of Harrison Rand Advertising
o Paul Rotella, President of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association
o Dennis Wilson, Director of Marketing at Monmouth Medical Center

The Roundtable was organized for the New Jersey Advertising Club by First Vice President of the Ad Club Sandra Schler of A.J. Images, and Daryl Rand of Harrison Rand, who serves on the Ad Club board of directors. Both Schler and Rand are currently spearheading the framework for the industry-wide strategic initiatives that flowed from this session. Plans are being made to institute The Roundtable as an annual event.

The New Jersey Advertising Club is the leading advertising and marketing organization in New Jersey, representing agencies, corporations and suppliers to the Garden State's advertising industry. Participation in the NJAC entitles members to privileges and benefits that include networking, educational and awards events, Jersey Awards discounts, the award-winning newsletter AdTalk, access to the web based research directory as well as the Ad Club's membership roster.

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JOHN LONSDORF

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