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Pot Roast, Steel, and Ghosts: A District 2 Conference to Remember

January 4, 2023

AAF,Ad Industry,Benefits,Creative,Events,Innovation,Insight,Interactive,Marketing,Members,News,Rochester,Social Media,Speakers,Students

Author Jill Duff

Did you know our local Greater Rochester is part of AAF’s District 2 Conference? Each year, chapters across New Jersey, New York, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, and Pennsylvania take turns hosting the D2 Conference (and showing off their cities!). This year was no different, with Lehigh Valley creating quite the agenda in Bethlehem, PA. Here are the top eight experiences we just had to share with you!

1. A tour of Factory where our furry guide, Pot Roast, walked us through the food, beverage, and pet brands in which they invest. By the way, this isn’t your typical agency. Not only do they handle market research, consumer insights, graphic web and design, and digital and social marketing, they also take care of product development, packaging engineering, supply chain logistics, and more. We even received bags filled with the goodies they represent, like Stuffed Puffs, which are marshmallows filled with chocolate. Perfect, sticky snack for our bus ride, haha. 

2. A Bethlehem Steel Stacks tour led by one of the steel worker’s daughters. The city has revitalized this area and turned it into an entertainment hub featuring concerts, comedy shows, film showings, and the biggest event of the year: Musikfest. We got to hear from the President & CEO of ArtsQuest, who puts on this massive festival each year. 

3. A Moravian University professor shared trends in advertising and design education, like how insanely technologically-advanced today’s students are. We won’t ever forget, though, the emphasis on how many students hold their pencils like rakes in drawing classes because they never had to use a pencil—until, well, now. 

4. Participation in Club Roundtables on what works best and what doesn’t, as well as opportunities to improve our programming, membership, and communications. One takeaway is that collaboration is key. Whether it’s teaming up with PRSA and AMA or breaking the barrier by attending events put on by minority groups, we should be working with and not against our local organizations. For example, D.C. is teaming up with their local Marketing Association’s 400+ attendee conference and sponsoring the 6-session creative track.

5. Another Roundtable tidbit, consider having more swagger. But really, Lehigh Valley has had lots of success with branded mugs, pens, and stickers. Apparently, the students love placing the stickers on their laptops. 

6. We do love our Roundtables, as we learned about D.C. inviting muralists, DJs, and any other niche audiences who are part of the creative economy to their events and to join their membership. It’s not just the traditional account person, art director, and copywriter who contributes to excellent advertising.  

7. Our State of the Union address reminded us the National Student Advertising Competition submission deadline is January 20th. Looking at you, Syracuse University, Ithaca College, Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Oswego, LeMoyne College, Saint John Fisher University, SUNY Geneseo, University of Rochester, and Roberts Wesleyan University. 

8. There may or may not be one to four ghosts in the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, where we ate a delightful dinner. After pleading with the bartender to tell us where to find one, we made our way up to the “Room with a Boo” to see for ourselves. We closely pressed our ears to the mahogany door of room 932 and heard … well, you’ll have to visit for yourself! 

And that, folks, is what we’ve been dying to tell you about. If you want to learn more or get involved, reach out to president@aafgreaterrochester.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We’re currently looking for a PR Chair and an Education Chair! Could that person be YOU?