August 19, 2014: the Fight Against Conference Crashers, Lay's and the Future of Sampling Events, Parents Group Warns MTV to Keep Award Show Clean

By Beth Kormanik August 19, 2014, 8:14 AM EDT

1. THE FIGHT AGAINST CONFERENCE CRASHERS: New technology is helping conference planners keep people from crashing their events, but planners still have work to do to convince potential attendees that the cost and content of an event are worth it. The New York Times: “There is a long tradition of those who simply show up for conferences, wallets closed. But for young entrepreneurs on limited budgets, particularly in the technology field, the importance of the personal introduction has only increased. Just don’t mention the fee. ‘As conferences proliferate, the cost for some has skyrocketed,’ said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst, who called lobbyconners the equivalent of wedding crashers. ‘It can cost $1,000 or more for a ticket to attend, plus airfare, hotel and meals. That’s quite a substantial investment.’”

2. LAY'S AND THE FUTURE OF SAMPLING EVENTS: The potato chip brand Lay’s is among the companies innovating new ways to let consumers sample their product. In a promotion last week, people could order a free picnic basket with new flavors of Lay’s, two sandwiches from Katz’s Deli, and two bottles of water, all delivered by Uber. Advertising Age: “In traditional sampling, hired third-parties typically hand out products at or near supermarkets. But through the Uber program, Lay's is testing the notion that people might pay more attention to a brand if they actively summon it, rather than randomly encounter it at the store. Such strategies could become critical as more people buy goods online using channels such as Amazon.”

3. PARENTS GROUP WARNS MTV TO KEEP AWARD SHOW CLEAN: It was just one year ago that Miley Cyrus made “twerking” part of our national vocabulary at the MTV Video Music Awards. Citing that performance, the Parents Television Council asked MTV to keep this year’s show family-friendly. Hollywood Reporter: “MTV still applied a TV-14 rating to the program, despite other adult-oriented performances and advertising messages,” said the letter from the council’s Tim Winter to MTV. “Such a rating was simply unacceptable to the families who depend on the television ratings system to be applied accurately and to the millions of families whose children are marketed to by MTV. The 2013 VMAs were a public relations kerfuffle for your network that I feel certain you will not wish to repeat.”


CHICAGO:  Savor Chicago, the food service provider at McCormick Place, has promoted Kevin Jezewski to director of sustainability and special projects.

LAS VEGAS:  Made LV, the latest restaurant from Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla, opened Monday in Tivoli Village. The 216-seat space is described as a “modern American tavern.”

The 2015 Miss Nevada USA pageant is November 21-23 at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

LOS ANGELES:  L.A. Live is hosting a happy-hour-style event called Downtown Dark Nights on Friday with food and drink specials, entertainment from street performers, musicians, artists, dance groups, and DJs, and a free bike valet.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach is closing on September 2 for a multimillion-dollar renovation designe by Carleton Varney of Dorothy Draper & Company. It is planning a reopening gala October 10.

Neiman Marcus Coral Gables and are hosting the Trend Event Party Wednesday at the department store to preview fall fashion. The event will also collect donated items for the Fashionably Conscious designer fund-raising sale in September.

NEW YORK:  Women’s Wear Daily: “Riccardo Tisci, Givenchy’s artistic director, will be honored at Alicia Keys’ Black Ball on Oct. 30. The event, which will be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, will benefit Keep a Child Alive, Keys’ nonprofit organization that raises funds for youths in the fight against AIDS.”

Jennifer Hudson and Magic are joining the lineup of Fashion Rocks, which takes place September 9 at Barclays Center.

The New York Innovative Theatre Awards, which recognize Off-Off-Broadway work, are September 22 at Mason Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  Centre Stage: Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition Gala is November 25 at Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. 

Evergreen Brick Works will host its Wild Blueberry Festival August 24. The event includes a farmers' market, a canning workshop, and a wild-blueberry pie bake-off.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The fourth biennial USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo is April 15-17, 2016, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The expo expects more than 1,000 participating corporations and organizations and more than 3,000 hands-on exhibits and stage shows.

Elizabeth Duncan Events has launched a new website,

CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings has promoted Damon R. Ross to group vice president.

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job:

With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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