SAN DIEGO — After 11 years as Response Expo, the rebranded MTC (Media, Technology, Commerce) Expo celebrated its debut in San Diego on April 24-26. The Hilton San Diego Bayfront was again the event’s epicenter, as a full slate of networking events and an array of meeting locations welcomed nearly 2,400 registered attendees.
The annual event, presented by Response Magazine and the DRMA, featured an active Expo Hall Floor with a number of networking locations and hot spots, while sponsors also hosted attendees at the Odysea Bar on the Hilton’s lobby level and outside at harbor-facing and poolside cabanas.
“With three classroom areas, the DRMA Lounge, Inventor Pavilion, and Expo Central, the show floor’s unique layout kept attendees together,” said Curtis Kleinman of Los Angeles-based Curtis Kleinman & Associates.
The Expo Hall Floor again featured many of the leading vendors in media, technology, and commerce, and Expo Central — a networking location featuring sponsored meeting tables, shoe shines, a coffee bar, a candy corner, and golf simulator — was a hub of activity. It also played host to the sponsored Mid-Show Mixer on Wednesday afternoon. The DRMA Lounge also hosted an open bar during show hours on Wednesday and Thursday, which drew attendees to set up meetings nearby. All-Access badge holders also gained a $40 voucher for lunch items from the sponsored “Food Trucks” positioned near the rear of the hall.
“It was a great venue for learning about new marketing technology, and some of the vendors had incredible tools that the early adopters would be recommended strongly to incorporate in order to stay on the cutting edge for their clients,” said Hybrid Media’s John Barlett.
MTC Expo also built on its predecessor event’s traditionally powerful calendar of networking events. Aside from the aforementioned, Venable-sponsored Mid-Show Mixer, five more cocktail receptions, the annual golf tournament, and a refreshed DR Hall of Fame induction ceremony were highlights.
On Monday, April 23, the Kick-off Party — sponsored by Lockard & Wechsler Direct — welcomed early arrivers to The Nolen, a rooftop cocktail lounge in San Diego’s Gaslamp District. The next morning, 80 golfers rose early MTC Expo Golf Tournament at San Diego’s Riverwalk Golf Club. Those golfers dug deep to support the event’s cause of choice: Someone Cares, a San Diego-based charity that provides support for the homeless. By the end of the show, Expo attendees had donated more than $1,200 to the cause.
Prior to the Keynote Event featuring Allison Massari, Janet Evans, and Carey Lohrenz (and presented by Havas Edge) on April 24, Medallion Fulfillment and Pacific Media Technologies welcomed All-Access badge holders to the inaugural Pre-Keynote Cocktail Reception. Following the stirring presentations, those same All-Access attendees enjoyed the Opening Night Party, sponsored by Extreme Reach.
On April 25, attendees swarmed the show floor in the late afternoon for the Mid-Show Mixer — in preparation for that evening’s Big Event, hosted atop the Western Metal Co. Building in Petco Park — home of the San Diego Padres. More than 400 attendees enjoyed the cool breezes, sunset views, live band, and a special fireworks display.
“This was the perfect networking event for me,” said Tyson Walters, CEO of Los Angeles-based marketer Shed Defender, who served as a speaker during the event. “I met a lot of people with great connections throughout the show. The afterparty at Petco Park was awesome.”
Expo attendees capped off the three-day event at the Closing Night Soirée at the Hilton Pool Club, which immediately followed the emotional and sun-splashed DR Hall of Fame Induction event, which was presented by A+E Networks and Opportunity Media. The seven inductees — Hal Altman, Fern Lee, Keith Mirchandani, Cathy Mitchell, Steve Netzley, Colleen Szot, and Dick Wechsler — gave acceptance remarks that were emotional, humorous, and forward thinking in front of a standing-room-only crowd.
“The ceremony was exciting, dramatic, and informative — from the presenters to hearing personal anecdotes from my fellow Hall of Famers,” said Altman, one of the day’s honorees, in the days after the event.
Another inductee, Szot, added, “It’s a great honor to be placed in such distinguished ranks as those of the past honorees, most of whom have been colleagues at one time or another, and all of whom have made important contributions to our industry.”