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Call Sheet #234: G.S.A. Chief Resigns Over Conference Expenses, Target Names New C.M.O., Amazon Absent in Charitable Giving?

BIZBASH CALL SHEET — #234 — Tuesday, 04.03.12

++ Sponsored by Event Leadership Institute ++

Compiled today by Beth Kormanik and Anna Sekula in New York
Feed the Sheet: [email protected]


1. CONFERENCE SPEND SCANDAL: The head of the General Services Administration is resigning and two senior officials have been dismissed after a report criticized the agency’s taxpayer-funded event in Las Vegas in 2010, the White House said Monday. Reuters: “G.S.A. spent $820,000 on the October 25-29 gathering at M Resort Spa Casino, a cost that included pre-conference scouting trips, a ‘red carpet’ dinner with ‘theatrical talent’ and a post-dinner wrap party in a loft suite. ... The report concluded that keeping costs down for the conference was not a goal and that several suggestions to minimize expenses were ignored.”

2. TARGET ADDS: The Minneapolis-based retailer has finally announced a successor to former chief marketing officer Michael Francis. WWD: “Target Corporation went outside its ranks to replace Michael Francis, naming former Gap Inc. executive Jeffrey J. Jones II as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.”

In related news, the innovative marketer has tapped Deutsch L.A. to handle its advertising. Ad Week:

3. AMAZON’S LOW PROFILE: The tech giant has proved to be a stingy corporate neighbor, barely participating in civic life in Seattle. The Seattle Times: “Though Amazon is a Fortune 500 company, you won’t find the company’s name on the rosters of major donors to such venerable local nonprofits as the Alliance for Education, Seattle Art Museum, and United Way.” Founder and C.E.O Jeff Bezos even skipped a January 2011 lunch in which the Puget Sound Business Journal named him executive of the year.

4. PINK SLIME WARS: Is it only a matter of time before event planners and guests start asking about their beef? The beef industry is losing the image war over their product as brands including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell distance themselves from it. “From a PR standpoint, very little can be done,” food-industry analyst Phil Lempert told Ad Age.

5. ‘MAN ON WIRE’ AGAIN: French aerialist Philippe Petit might reprise a tightrope walk he performed at Grand Central Terminal 25 years ago. While announcing plans for the station’s 100th anniversary next year, former M.T.A. chairman Peter Stangl said, “If anybody knows where he is and [if he] is still doing it, we’d love to have him back.” The New York Post found him, and reports, “The surprise offer had him flexing his toes in anticipation.”

6. MARKETING BLITZ: Skype’s new $12 million campaign will promote the brand in the U.S. and U.K. The campaign, from Pereira & O’Dell in San Francisco, takes on other technologies and social media. Ad Age:

7. SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY: In a post on Ad Age, ComScore’s vice president Andrew Lipsman argues that true engagement on social media is not about talking to consumers that are already fans of the brand, but reaching those in the extended network of “heavy buyers.”

8. BNY MELLON’S NEW MARKETER: promoted R. Jeep Bryant to executive vice president for marketing and corporate affairs, in which the executive will be responsible for overseeing the integration of those areas to advance the brand and support the company’s global growth. The Holmes Report:


The Event Leadership Institute is proud to provide the most progressive training and education for event planners in the industry, through on-demand video classes, biweekly webinars, white papers as well as interviews with industry leaders.


Voting is now open for the Florida edition of the BizBash Readers’ Choice Awards. You can vote for event pros in categories including Event Producer of the Year, Corporate Event Planner of the Year, and, new this year, Fund-Raising Event Planner of the Year. The winners will be announced at the BizBash Florida Expo & Awards at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center April 18. See the list of finalists and vote here:

Register for the show: 


ISES announced Sequoia Productions owner Cheryl Cecchetto and former White House chef Roland Mesnier will be general session speakers at Eventworld 2012 in Dallas.

Drape King, which provides event drapes and staging, announced Keith Westpy became its chief financial officer in March.


BOSTON: The Greatest Party on Earth, a benefit for Artists for Humanity, takes place April 28 at the Artist for Humanity EpiCenter. Each year, the event aims to raise awareness about an environmental issue, and this year the focus is on “vanishing bees.” The organization’s teenage artists and mentors have created artworks inspired by the insects.

The Hyatt Regency Boston will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Room for Hope April 10. The yearlong initiative allows a family of a Children’s Hospital patient to stay in the room free of charge.

CHICAGO: H.S.M.A.I.’S Meet Mid-America conference takes place today and Wednesday at Navy Pier. Some 1,500 event professionals are expected to attend the gathering, which offers educational sessions in topics such as “Technology Mixology: How to Choose the Right Technology Mix for Your Event,” and “Seven Habits of Highly Affective Web Sites.” An exposition floor offers 200 booths showcasing destinations, products, and services.

A V.I.P. reception and preview party for the Merchandise Mart’s DreamHome takes place April 11. Vendors include Heffernan Morgan Ronsley, Fig Media, and Kenmare Catering and Events.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Illinois Chapter will announce its Emerald Award winners during the “Limelight” celebration and fund-raising event at Greenhouse Loft May 10.

The Driehaus Design Initiative will host the Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence April 27. The event includes a cocktail reception, a runway show, a silent auction, and a V.I.P. after-party.

Four Winds Casino, 60 miles east of Chicago in New Buffalo, will open the Silver Creek Event Center this summer. Available for meetings and corporate events, the venue will have 1,500 seats and will offer headline entertainment.

The American Cancer Society’s Discovery Ball at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel April 28 will have a Cape Cod/Hamptons theme with decor from Heffernan Morgan. CNBC news anchor Maria Bartiromo will serve as M.C. and actor and comedian Kevin Nealon will provide the night’s entertainment. The chairs are Greg Brown, chairman and C.E.O. of Motorola Solutions and his wife, Anna.

Elite Traveler magazine’s ranking of the world’s best restaurants puts Grant Aschatz’s Alinea in Chicago in the top spot.

LAS VEGAS: Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, on the Smith Center opening: “The Smith Center is a superb new arts facility that brings a strong cultural voice to Las Vegas… this center is meant primarily for the local population; it recognizes that every community needs and benefits from culture of a different kind than is routinely available on the Strip.” Huffington Post:

On April 27, Casa Fuente inside the Forum Shops at Caesars will host Milagro Tequila founders Daniel Schneeweiss and Moises “Moy” Guindi as well as brand ambassador Gaston Martinez for a tasting and the Vegas launch of Milagro Unico Tequila Joven.

LOS ANGELES/SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Classic Party Rentals will move its headquarters and a fulfillment center to Inglewood. L.A. Times:

Hyatt Hotels Corporation awarded Hyatt Regency Century Plaza director of sales and marketing Lisa Arias as the 2011 director of sales of the year for the group’s large convention hotels. Century Plaza senior executive chef Manfred Lassahn won chef of the year.

In Camarillo, Oxnard, and Ventura, 58 hotels, motels, inns, and R.V. campsites have formed the Ventura County Lodging Association to attract overnight leisure and business visitors to the area.

MIAMI: Evian will host a pop-up roller skating party for the public Saturday. Live Young, Skate On! will take over Collins Park on Miami Beach and attempt to set the world record for the longest conga line on roller skates.

The Miami Science Museum’s Science Extravaganza returns Sunday with attendees participating in Easter-egg hunting and science experiments on the museum’s grounds.

Johnson & Wales University’s third annual Sports Entertainment Events conference is April 12 at the university. Speakers include Miami Marlins president David Samson, who will talk about the rebranding of the ball club.

NEW YORK: The Brooklyn Academy of Music will hold its 150th anniversary gala April 12, with a performance by Dr. John in the Peter Jay Sharp Building and dinner for more than 500 inside a tent from Stamford Tents. JPMorgan Chase is the sponsor, Great Performances will cater, and Fleurs Bella will handle decor, using memorabilia from BAM’s archive.

According to The New York Times, former Merrill Lynch exec Ahmass Fakahany is “bringing a Wall Street sensibility to a business that can make investment banking seem easy by comparison.” Fakahany is chef Michael White’s partner at restaurant company Altamarea Group, which operates eateries including Marea and Ai Fiori.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s showed off dance moves and a sense of humor in a performance at the Inner Circle Show. Huffington Post:

With the growth of its marathon, the New York Road Runners is seeing complaints from its members about communication. Crain’s New York:

The Waldorf-Astoria is joining the beekeeping movement by installing six hives in its 20th-floor garden. The posh New York hotel will use the honey made by the bees in its in-house restaurants. The Daily Meal:

Yesterday, the NYC & Company launched its partnership startup CityMap “with plans to orchestrate an extensive marketing program to promote the app as the city’s de facto tour guide.” Ad Week:

Event Planners Association will present its New York chapter at 3 West Club April 19. Chapters are also launching in D.C., Miami, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland over the next few months.

ORLANDO: A new entertainment facility will open on International Drive later this month. The 25,000-square-foot WhirlyDome will include two courts for WhirlyBall (a combination of bumper cars, basketball, jai alai, and hockey), a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, multiple private event rooms, a racing simulator, laser tag, and pool tables.

WASHINGTON: National Police Week will take place May 12-16 with several events, including a memorial service that last year drew 40,000 attendees from departments throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Fraternal Order of Police D.C. Lodge No. 1 will sponsor receptions each afternoon and evening.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness D.C. honored author Tom Clancy, a major donor, and California Congressman Jerry Lewis at a dinner last week at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C.

D.C. Beer Week isn’t until August, but organizers already are promoting it by selling $10 DCBW Buttons that get wearers deals at 15 bars.

What are you doing? Tell us: [email protected]. 

With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, Carla Warrilow in Toronto, and Anna Sekula, Beth Kormanik, and Rose Chevalier in New York.

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