Direct Line Blog

Bret Michaels shows up at the DMA 2010 and doesn't disappoint

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Waiting to enter the conference session at this morning's welcome speech and keynote address at the DMA 2010 Conference & Exhibition was like standing in line for a concert--among a throng of avid fans. The big draw? Poison front man Bret Michaels. Michaels was a last minute stand-in for director James Cameron.

I overheard one delegate gleefully tell another this was the second time she was seeing Michaels within the last two weeks. Other conference attendees were posing with a standee of the famous rocker.

When we were finally allowed in, one of the delegates I had been conversing with held the door open for me. "So you don't get trampled," he said to me, which I thought very fitting.

The "concert" experience was furthered as the lights dimmed and three screens came to life--the sound blasting--as lighting flashed across our eyes. Other images captivated our attention...and out walked DMA chief, Lawrence Kimmel--we had to wait for Michaels.

When he did arrive, introduced by video--as was legendary record exec Steve Stoute just ahead of him--we were not disappointed. At least I wasn't.

The discussion focused on savvy marketing. Stoute actually offered some interesting points.

"Deep strategic insight...that's where creativity comes into play," he said.

Stoute also noted that an organic relationship between a brand and a spokesman (in this case famous musical artists) is critical to be effective.

Michaels discussed the creation of Trop-A-Rocka Snapple Iced Tea, a flavor he designed during the final challenge on "Celebrity Apprentice," which he eventually won. (A bottle of it was sitting next to him during his session).

He emphasized how close to home the diet drink is for him, being a diabetic, hence furthering the point Stoute made on an organic connection.

Michaels input focused more on passion being the main driver to get things done--for marketers--to connect to consumers.

He laughed and said he would soon hand the panel talk back to Stoute whom he said had real insight to offer.

"I'm just BS-ing [up here]," he said.

I didn't agree. Michaels is a genuine guy. He stays true to himself and it's obvious he's survived the celebrity culture as a result. And as far as marketing goes, his track records been better than good.

Kimmel got up on stage afterwards and presented him with an all-access badge, for "getting up there and BS-ing."

As the session ended and were walking out--with Poison tunes blasting--I thought, hmmm...Trop-A-Rocka--sounds good to me.

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