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Baruch College Social Media Conference to Discuss What Gatorade And Sarah Palin Have in Common -- Among Other Dynamics of Viral Marketing

NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 26, 2010 – The Department of Marketing and International Business at Baruch College is hosting a break-through conference on December 1 titled “The New Marketing Revolution: The impact of social media and viral marketing on branding and political advertising.”

Conference speakers will discuss what Gatorade and Sarah Palin have in common. They will debate how social media and viral marketing have made it easier for products to become people, and candidates products. Panelists will discuss the dynamics of viral marketing – how it complements and differs from traditional marketing and examine the relationship between brands and social media.  They will discuss how social media helps to build communities around a brand or candidate and how consumers/voters co-create the identity of the brand and even build different communities around the same brand.

The high profile list of speakers for the conference includes Tom Basile, Managing Director, Middleberg Communications Sustainability Group; Liz Gumbinner, Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director, Deutsch; Azi Paybarah, WNYC radio; Alan Rosenblatt, Associate, Center for American Progress; and Alan Snitow, Group Strategy Director, Gotham, Inc. The moderator is Todd Wasserman, senior editor, Brandweek and creator of the BrandFreak blog.

Hours for the conference, which is free and will be held on the seventh floor of the Baruch College Newman Library, 151 East 25th Street, Room 750, are 9:30 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch and networking opportunities for conference guests.

The conference has been designed for a diverse audience including Baruch and CUNY students, faculty and alumni, marketing, advertising and branding professionals, political junkies and the media.

Bios of conference participants follow:

As Managing Director of the Middleberg Sustainability Group (, Thomas J. Basile guides clients through the innovation process by bridging the gap between businesses, environmental organizations, think tanks, governments, academics and local communities.

Throughout his career, Tom has served in a number of public relations positions addressing a variety of high profile communications challenges in both the public and private sector. For more than a decade he has counseled a wide range of clients including corporations, government agencies, political candidates and non-profit organizations.

He is a former Director of the Office of Communications for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington. In this role at the Agency he managed the US EPA Administrator's public liaison operation and developed media and stakeholder outreach initiatives for a variety of environmental issues. Tom's government service also includes several high-level strategic communications roles with the Department of Defense, where he was awarded the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Medal for his work. He has also been called upon by the White House to plan significant meetings and large-scale media events for the President including the memorial service for the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts in Houston, the President's 2002 meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican and activities surrounding the 57th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Tom holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Hofstra University. He received his Juris Doctorate attending Fordham and Georgetown Law Schools. He is a member of the New York Bar.

Liz Gumbinner is a Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director at Deutsch, Inc. (, where she brings her love for brand-building together with her passion for the digital space. Over her advertising career, she has developed award-winning work for brands like Mitsubishi Motors, Old Navy, and Universal Theme Parks.  But online, she's better known as the publisher and editor-in-chief of the popular design and trendspotting blog, Cool Mom Picks (, which was named "the online arbiter of cool for the swingset crowd" by Parents Magazine and named one of Real Simple's three best blogs for parents.

She also publishes the new sister site, Cool Mom Tech (, authors the personal blog, and co-founded the Blog with Integrity educational campaign in 2009.

Liz has been named one of the top women to follow on Twitter by Forbes, and one of Nielsen's Top 50 Digital Power Moms. She's a frequent speaker on the evolving and sometimes crazy relationship between brands and social media.

Azi Paybarah is a New York-based journalist covering politics for WNYC (, and contributing to their politics web site, It's a Free Country ( As a political reporter and blogger, he's worked for the New York Observer, the New York Sun and New York Press Politicker. Azi attended the University at Albany, and returned to New York City in 2001. He currently lives in Brooklyn and still can't figure out whether to replace his Blackberry with an iPhone or a Droid.

Alan Rosenblatt is the Associate Director for Online Advocacy at Center for American Progress Action Fund ( He is a frequent speaker and author on digital media, advocacy, and politics, including social networking, blogging, grassroots, and mobile advocacy strategies. He is the founder of the Internet Advocacy Center and the Internet Advocacy Roundtable; an adjunct professor at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and American Universities, where he teaches Media and Politics in the Digital Age, Internet Politics, Digital Political Strategies, and Internet Advocacy Communications; a blogger at the Huffington Post, and, and a former fellow at George Washington University's Institute for Politics, Democracy, & the Internet.

Alan is also a founding team member of Media Bureau Networks, a pioneer in streaming media services; a contributing editor to; serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals dedicated to the study of the Internet, politics, and government; and is a member of the Board of Directors for He taught Political Science at George Mason University for nine years, where, in 1995, he launched the first-ever cyberpolitics course. With MBN, he webcasted live coverage of the 2000 presidential conventions. In 2001, he served as Vice President for the Online Advocacy Services division at Stateside Associates. From 2003 to 2005 he served as Director of Training Programs at e-advocates.

Alan has a Ph.D. in Political Science from American University, an M.A. in Political Science from Boston College, and a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Tufts University. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Alan Snitow is Managing Partner, Group Strategy Director at Gotham (, where he is one of a cadre of executives charged with reinvigorating the agency and helping deliver a greater level of strategic and creative excellence.  Alan sits on the agency’s Operating Board, helping shape the continuing evolution of the company.  Alan oversees brand, engagement, and digital strategy for several of the agencies largest accounts including Denny’s and Best Western.  He has also been at the fore of client Yellow book’s wholesale shift in business model from its traditional, analog offering to a largely digital go-to-market approach.  In just the year and a half that Alan and his new colleagues have been at work, Gotham has been recognized with a record number of strategic, creative, and effectiveness awards and was named the #1 Agency to Watch in 2010 by Advertising Age.   

Immediately prior to Gotham, Alan was a Group Planning Director at Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, leading strategy for key clients Miller Brewing and Unilever (spreads brands).  He also helped lead the winning pitch for Ally Bank and then launch the online bank brand globally.  Leading up to his stint at BBH, Alan held account planning roles at New York agencies of varying size and ilk including SS+K, Deutsch, Saatchi & Saatchi, and FCB.

Alan enjoys sharing the craft as well as practicing it.  He sits on the American Advertising Federation’s National Academic Committee and has been an adjunct faculty member at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the Advertising, Marketing, and Communications department.

Alan graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis.  He rounded out his degree in anthropology with a double minor in political science and legal studies. 

The conference moderator Todd Wasserman has been the editor of Brandweek ( since 2007 and has been with the publication since 1999. He is also the creator of the BrandFreak blog ( Prior to that, he worked at various daily newspapers including the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Business 2.0, The Hollywood Reporter and Inc, among other places.

The Baruch MarkLab has previously organized two other conferences, “The Changing Dynamics of Public Relations” and “Yes We Can: Going Viral in a Social Marketing World.”

To register go to Attendance is limited and for Baruch students registration is open to the first 50 who register.


Contact: Professor Michael Lissauer, or 516-732-0547.

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