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Inside Move: Dr. Ruth takes on Media Summit panel

Westheimer voices complaints about new technologies

After seven middle-aged men in suits went on about “media platforms” and “branded integration content” during panel discussion “Entertainment and Madison Ave. Converge,” a little old lady in the front row piped in.

“You make me very sad,” said Dr. Ruth Westheimer. “Everybody out there, especially our young people, are going to relate (only) to our cell phone. … It makes me very sad to see brilliant minds like these not talking about communicating with each other.”

One panelist, Bruce Eskowitz, prexy of Clear Channel Entertainment Properties, answered that at concerts you do get to see real-life humans.

Dr. Ruth seemed satisfied. “And you hold hands” at concerts, she added.

Coming during the Q&A session of a panel at the McGraw-Hill-sponsored 2005 Media Summit New York, Dr. Ruth’s questions, while critical, were a bit in jest. She is a friend of the moderator, Michael Kassan, an entertainment and media consultant.

While the panel grappled with many issues relating to product placement and “the intersection of Madison and Vine,” as Kassan put it, the consensus that emerged is that quality is more important than quantity.

“If we start measuring seconds onscreen, then we’re getting into dangerous territory,” said Robert Riesenberg, prexy-CEO of Full Circle Entertainment.

As Unilever North America VP for media Brad Simmons put it, a brand’s placement into a work of entertainment needs to be not just prominent but “contextually relevant to that brand.”

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