In the Mood or Not, Party Plans Move Forward

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Although the atmosphere might be subdued, many direct marketing companies are proceeding with plans for parties during the Direct Marketing Association's fall conference in Chicago next week.

"We're going to continue in the spirit of President Bush's message of conducting business as usual -- so in that spirit we will have our annual DMA event," said Matthew Besler, spokesman at Experian, Orange, CA.

Experian usually hosts the biggest bash of the conference, but the size of this year's event is unclear.

Another firm is forging ahead with what it has dubbed a "Skyline Party" at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building. Jeff Werfel, director of marketing at The Allant Group, Naperville, IL, said the room "is a really nice space. In the spring, it seemed like a fabulous idea to have the party there."

Allant invited about 600 people but Werfel said it is too early to gauge response. He said the company is more concerned about lower conference attendance hurting the party turnout than about people being hesitant to attend a party on the 95th floor.

"We've actually been more concerned about the overall attendance to the show and how that might affect the event," he said.

This will be the second year that the company, formerly called Executive Marketing Services, hosts a party during the DMA's annual show.

Meredith Corp. chose to acknowledge the tragic events of Sept. 11 in the invitation to its annual cocktail reception. An insert within the invite said in part, "In times like these, it is our sense of community and our cherished traditions that give us comfort and strength. With this in mind, we will proceed with our annual tradition -- meeting with our many friends and colleagues in the direct marketing industry."

Other companies that will host parties during the conference include KnowledgeBase Marketing, Epsilon, MeritDirect and Contact Marketing.

Even so, there were cancellations resulting from last month's terrorist attacks. Direct Media Inc., Greenwich, CT, called off its annual conference reception in favor of donating money to the American Red Cross and the Twin Towers Fund. Another company, Lavery Rowe Advertising of London, canceled a cocktail party because it decided not to attend the show.


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