What really keeps Madison Avenue awake at night

Joe Mandese

Hypothetically speaking, let's suppose I just managed to convince the CEOs of the media services operations of the ad industry's six largest agency holding companies to get together for a little off-the-record conversation about what's really on their minds, how they really see the current economic climate, what they really think of their relationships with clients – and the media – and generally, what really keeps them up at night. What do you suppose they would say? Well, I can't name names, or attribute specifically what any of them said, but I can tell you that the meeting was not hypothetical. It took place only a few weeks ago, just as some of Wall Street's biggest investment banking companies were in the process of melting down, and as most of them were preparing to take off for Google's annual multi-day Zeitgeist Conference, an event that focuses on a lot of feel-good futuristic media initiatives, but fundamentally reinforces for the top ad executives how much their world has actually changed.