A Conference Now Called [Pro]

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Jim Chabin said he could've broken out clip reels of classic TV stars like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to mark the 50th anniversary of his marketing-and-design association.

But instead, Promax & BDA will look forward, and there won't be a single poster or flier at the Promax confab in New York this week that will contain the group's name.

Noting that Promax is “proactive, pro-broadcast, pro-cable, pro-imagination, pro-visionary” and other iterations of pro, Chabin said that going forward, the Promax conference will be known simply as [Pro].

Chabin said branding Promax & BDA and several international Promax chapters [Pro] was the brainchild of Planet 3 president Stefan Gerber, whose Venice, Calif.-based firm designed the creative materials for the branding campaign for free.

GETTING [PRO]ACTIVE

“It's our 50th anniversary. The smartest thing we could do is refresh the brand, make it more proactive and more applicable to a lot of different technologies and areas that the association is in,” Chabin said.

The conference will open Tuesday with an opening video that shows kids all over the world, from Tiananmen Square to the Sydney Opera House, packing suitcases slapped with the [Pro] logo on the side and climbing onto airplanes.

Martha Stewart is the star speaker at this year's conference. In one of her first public appearances since being released from prison in March, Stewart will give a keynote address Wednesday morning, before schmoozing with NBC affiliates at a lunch.

Stewart has two new shows out this fall — syndicated daytime talk show Martha and the Mark Burnett-produced Apprentice: Martha Stewart.

Promax lined up an eclectic roster of industry players and motivational speakers for the confab, including Walt Disney Media Networks co-chairman Anne Sweeney; Electronic Arts Inc. co-founder Bing Gordon; Nightline anchor Ted Koppel; Ron Reagan; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; Hallmark Channel chief marketing officer Chris Mosely; and Daniel Libeskind, the architect of the new World Trade Center.

With digital video recorders making it harder to drive viewers to new shows with promos, several [Pro] sessions will take a look at the impact of new technology, and how to take advantage of things like HDTV to shoot better spots.

BRIEF PROMOS RULE

TV stations and networks running promos ranging from less than one second to two-minute videos that resemble a movie trailer will be highlighted at the conference.

“If you go to one session, I have to say [design expert] Lee Hunt's [on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.], will show you every permeation of the word promo, and show you how it's been used from stuff all over the world,” Chabin said.

About 3,200 people are expected to attend the conference at the Marriot Marquis, which concludes on Thursday.

Promax will also launch a new Web site on June 21, the opening night of the conference, which will reflect the new [Pro] brand.

Chabin said Promax isn't changing its name to [Pro]. “It'd be kind of like VH1 and MTV coming up with a new brand,” he said.

But Chabin said that Promax & BDA could eventually become a sub-brand of [Pro].

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