April 13, 2010
 

The Madison Avenue Register: Methodology

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Back in the early 1890's The Astor Family was the wealthiest family in New York City. They loved to network and enjoy society. When they planned a gala event, they made a list to invite the most well-connected, wealthy and interesting people. The Astor's liked to throw parties at their fashionable 5th Avenue home. Over time, they found that the ideal number of people to invite was around 400 or so.

It was an enviable list to be on and ultimately became referred to as "The Astor 400." The Astors considered themselves at the top of New York society though they were by no means exclusionary. Legend has it that the guest list was cut off at 400 not because there were no others worth inviting. It was due to the fact that Mrs. Astor could not squeeze any more people into their luxurious Grand Ballroom!

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Years later, American media tycoon Malcolm Forbes revived the idea of creating another enviable list, The Forbes 400. Its publication set off an explosive trend that continues today in virtually every aspect of business and culture. Who can name a business, celebrity or political category that does not list and rank their most celebrated and most successful power-players? Mr. Forbes had keen insight when he created the Forbes 400. In retrospect, it may have been the first modern-day example of "behavioral segmentation".... Why are lists so popular?

1. The Forbes 400 is a practical tool in business. It acts as an informal TRW or D&B for Wall Street, based on the sophistication of methodology used;

2. Lists spark our imagination and help us strive to realize "The American Dream" on both a business and personal level. Andy Warhol loved making lists. Rumor has it that his lists were so long that in order to give each person a chance to luxuriate in the limelight, each could only have 15 minutes!

3. Bottom-line, they're fun. They satisfy our curiosity and act as a celebrity score-card if you will in B2B, B2C and C2C!

The Madison Avenue Journal borrowed some of these factors with in our first annual "Madison Avenue Register." However, unlike the others, The Register is not capped, simply because it can't. Based on our current projections, we expect it to exponentially grow!

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We're bullish on Madison Avenue and Hollywood's future growth. US-based communication and entertainment businesses are one of our most precious and profitable exports. We bet they will double in the next 5 years.

Capping the list of players who will lead us into the future would be an impossible task, since our business is dependent on a constant enrichment of ideas and energy. We also felt it would be simpler to alphabetize the list since the business is far from possessing a static pecking order. It's still anyone's game :--)

Some may believe that our methodology is still in beta. We're not about to argue. Please forgive us if we missed you or anyone you know who should be on this list. We estimate we only got 40-50% of the people who should be listed. Next year we promise to do better. Please contact us at editor@madisonavenuejournal.com for any questions or to provide names of those overlooked.

The 2005 Register skews towards Madison Avenue-based agencies, publishers, tech companies, writers, industry association memberships and conference/road show evangelists; essentially the work horses of our industry. It lists our best practitioners and communicators simply and personally. We believe Astor, Malcolm and Warhol all would have agreed; that's where great ideas always begin.

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