Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lucky, lucky me (to be in Miami)

This--THIS--was the incredible view from my 14th floor corner unit hotel room at the very luxurious Fountainbleau in Miami Beach Tuesday. And yes, I sat by those inviting pools with two of my old colleagues, finishing Unbroken and wolfing down an Indian-spiced shrimp wrap.

What did I do to deserve this Cinderella-at-the-ball treatment? I said yes to participating in a panel discussion at a shopper marketing insights conference. And it turned out to be a really fun panel, filled as it was with lively, personable, funny representatives of each generation.

Baby boomers Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are professional speakers/retail snoops and hilariously self-deprecating. Apparently Boomers want large print labels and no-slip carpet floors in stores, but it's "not because they're old!" Marketer Isabel Villegas represented the Gen X Latina (dispelling the myth that Hispanics aren't heavy Internet users and reinforcing the stereotype that they like to shop in big family groups) and I offered the opinions and concerns of the Gen X mom ("It's a scary world in which to be raising small children. We're looking for brands that incorporate sustainable practices, reduce packaging, treat animals humanely, and give back to the community.") Our token Millennial was Sasha Halima, a quick-witted tell-it-like-it-is PR gal in NYC and avid blogger/tweeter who shared Millennials' close relationships with their moms ("I call my mom from the store and ask her what brand to buy").

Since the rehearsals and our actual panel took up only 3 or 4 hours of my time in Miami, I was able to take a bus to Lincoln Road mall in South Beach and soak up the atmosphere in the uber-cool lobby lounge Bleau, which is lit from below and features live music.