Gurbaksh Chahal, founder of real-time ad network RadiumOne, was fired by his board of directors following a lawsuit which charged him of 47 felonies surrounding an argument he had with his
girlfriend last year. While some reports, based on a video, claim Chahal hit the woman 117 times, Chahal denies the accusations and has written a lengthy public letter in which he tells his side of
the story. In the letter, he writes, "The situation that resulted in my legal case began when I discovered that my girlfriend was having
unprotected sex for money with other people. (She testified to this in her interviews with the cops.) I make no excuse for losing my temper. When I discovered this fact and confronted my girlfriend,
we had a normal argument. She called 911 after I told her I was going to contact her father regarding her activities. And yes, I lost my temper. I understand, accept full responsibility and sincerely
apologize from the bottom of my heart for that. But I didn’t hit her 117 times, injure her, or cause any trauma as the UCSF medical reports clearly document. This was all overblown drama because
it generates huge volumes of page views for the media given what I have accomplished in the valley." Note that technically he never denies he hit her. Just how many times.
Despite naysayers, doomsday scenarios and predictions of the demise of ad agencies, employment levels are at their highest in the industry since 2001. Of course, 2001 was not a great time for the ad community having just experienced the dot com disaster but it's still a positive sign. That, combined with the finding that agency revenue has increased 3.7% to 39.1 billion in 2013 is a good sign as well. And digital now accounts for 35% of all U.S. agency revenue. That's a sea-change event considering most online and interactive efforts coming out of agencies just 15 or so years ago were considered hobbies.
As you may have heard, Burger King has brought back Subservient Chicken for its tenth anniversary. And as part of that return, Burger King has named WPP's David its lead global agency ending a three year period during which no agency oversaw the brand's global efforts. David will join the brand's U.S. agencies Pitch, Code & Theory and Horizon Media. Previously, domestic duties were handled by Mother.
Following Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's comment that his ex-mistress shouldn't be "associating with black people" when he saw her in a picture with Magic Johnson, Translation Founder Steve Stoute has encouraged his clients to boycott the Clippers. So far, Translation client State Farm has pulled out. Other brands that have pulled their sponsorships include Red Bull, Kia, Virgin America and CarMax.
Oh this is rich. Ever since the 88 million Millennials started swarming the office world, freaked out GenX and Baby Boomer managers have tried just about everything to better meld with these stereotypically self-entitled, hierarchy-agnostic, trophy-for-participation 20-somethings. Well, it seems Grey New York has found the answer.
What's Grey's solution? They rounded up all the whiners...uh...Millennials and gave them their own playpen. No, seriously. A while back, the agency moved all its assistant account executives into one area of the office, effectively segregating them from their managers. Why? So they'll grow up and think before they speak. And that comes right from the mouth of a Millennial!
Of the segregated office space, called Base Camp, Grey AAE Sean McNamara said, “Since I’m not sitting in front of my supervisor, I’m not able to just turn around and say, ‘Hey, this is what I think.’ It makes you think: When does this call for me to go over and talk about things, and when will an e-mail suffice?” That's right. Apparently, Millennials must be physically separated from their bosses to rescue management from an incessant stream of mindless, ill-thought-through banter.
It's non-stop charity action this year with ad agency holiday cards. It's as if every agency in the land is finally hanging their head in shame for the decades of trite, meaningless holiday silliness they've foisted upon us for far too long. Nice to see things changing.
Leo Burnett Chicago is out with a program that makes donating gifts to children at Off The Street Club as easy as tweeting a photo. "Gift of Giving 2014" allows people to donate by snapping a Twitter or Instagram photo of the gift and tagging it with #GiftOfGiving2014.
That gift image will appear on digital display gift boxes under an actual Christmas tree at Off The Street Club in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood and virtually at TheGiftOfGiving.co where one can search for it using one's screenname. Once found, people can download a pre-paid postage label to ship that gift directly to Off The Street Club at no cost. Now isn't that much nicer that some silly video?
You know that holiday sweater? The silly one that the office doofus insists upon wearing every year? Yeah, that sweater. Well now you can have one of your very own too. And all you have to do is take this Ugly Sweater quiz DigitasLBi put together.
So head over to the agency's sweater-ific quiz site and answer a few questions such as your preference in Blizzard Survival apps, wearables, holiday party bites and what you plan to watch come 2015. You'll then be presented with a "hand-sewn" customized sweater which may or may not end up being called The Bun Toaster. And after you have taken the quiz, the agency will make a donation to Goodwill in an effort to keep everyone warm this year.
As you take the quiz, a very nice lady, likely some agency person's grandmother, furiously works on creating a masterpiece of personalized wonderment. Now if only the sweaters were real.
Boston-based Captains of Industry is asking us all to turn the tables a bit on the whole Santa Claus thing. After all, year after year after year, the poor guy has to do all the giving. What if we asked Santa what he wanted for Christmas. Well, that's exactly what Captains did.
So, what does Santa want? The agency hit the streets of Boston to find out. And here's what they found: a slap chop, a reduction of parking fees for reindeer, bigger candy canes, a satellite radio for the sleigh, a few days off for Mrs. Claus, a little less turmoil in the world for a couple of weeks, more happiness, help for drug addicted family members.
The video ends with a simple reminder: "This holiday season, let's remember there's a man behind the beard.”
Well, at least according to Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson, who has compiled a list of ten "mind-altering business books from 2014." He acknowledges that most business books simply repeat what many of us already know but these ten books (and a few honorable mentions) will truly shift your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities, according to Goodson.
His list, compiled in a piece for Huffington Post, includes CREATIVITY INC: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, THE HARD THING ABOUT HARD THINGS: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and Sally Hogshead's HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination, among others.
Check out the full list and get smarter. Because the last thing this industry needs is more of the same. We already have that is spades. Let's be different, Okay?
In acknowledgement of the 3,500 homeless and 15,000 at risk households in their area, Calgary-based Trigger Communications decided to tackle homelessness in Calgary this season with what they are calling "The first-ever airbnb PSA."
The "PSA" which the agency created for Alberta charitable organization, The Mustard Seed, consists of airbnb listings that document what it's like to be homeless. Through social media, the agency encouraged people to book a night at one of these listings for $20 -- the same amount a person in Alberta receives for social assistance.
To further promote the fund-raising effort, the agency placed cardboard signs around the city promoting the listings. Now isn't that better than a bunch of agency employees tossing on some Christmas costumes and prancing around the office sharing their poor acting skills? Yes. Yes, it is.
London-based WCRS decided to marry the Bitcoin trendlet with some Christmas spirit. The agency has created Bitmas Pudding, a mobile game that takes its origins from the traditional practice of placing silver coins inside a Christmas pudding. The game, just like the tradition, has players eating their way through the pudding to find the bitcoins.
The agency sent the game to clients, prospects and friends of the agency awarding winners with various prizes including a bitcoin worth $349. Players could also choose to donate their winnings to the homeless charity St. Mungo's Broadway.
Of the game, WCRS Head of Technology and Innovation Dino Burbidge said: "Most people have heard of Bitcoins but almost all are totally baffled by them too. The simple idea of transforming a Christmas tradition was a great opportunity for our in-house creative and digital innovation teams to have some fun and demystify Bitcoins a little. At least it'll spark an interesting conversation over Christmas dinner when the pudding come out!"
Boston-based Small Army is out with a new product it hopes will help everyone spread holiday cheer far and wide. They have put holiday cheer inside a can. Which anyone can order. No, really, it's true. And the agency will donate 100% of net proceeds to the Boston Medical Center's Preventive Food Pantry.
As explained on the Web site, which is filled with hilarious videos including a Christopher Walken impersonator hilariously touting the product, Holiday Cheer is "a fine paste packed into the most technologically advanced chemical processing plants in all of East Asia. This paste is fused with active cultures and injected into fermented eggnog batter, which is then aged to perfection inside casks of hollowed out fruit-cakes. This process results in a smooth, buttery cream, packed with patented Festive Pheromones which saturating your synapsis with cheer and general merriment."
So how does one use a can of Holiday Cheer? Simply spread a liberal amount on your entire face, wait until the "active ingredients" absorb into your skin and you are guaranteed cheeriness. Well, at least until January 1.
Agencies, it seems, are really amping up their holiday card efforts this year with many going the mobile route. Spanish agency Shakleton Group has developed SantApp, a mobile app which creates the illusion that Father Christmas or the Three Kings are moving around in one's living room to enchant the little ones. To get it to work, you enter the name of the child or children, place the phone in the room with the presents, close the door, turn off the lights.
According to Juan Silva, executive creative director at Shackleton: “People say that technology is robbing children of their innocence. We believe that, for once, we are actually helping to give it back to them.” That's all well and good -- but a video explaining the app leads on to believe all it does is play various Santa voice and flash light. But, hey, sometimes that's all kids need.
AKQA decided to go mobile with its holiday card this year. The agency has introduced Winterlands, a mobile messaging site that lets you send this season’s greetings in a 3D snow globe experience.
If you visit snow.akqa.com on any mobile device running iOS 8+ or Android 4.3.3+ and choose one of the snowscapes and write your personal message that when opened by a recipient will reveal a message inside a virtual snow globe. And shaking the phone will make it snow. The experience is really quite cool and makes use of the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer.
Winterlands launches with one wintery and five city-inspired snowscapes including London, Paris, Portland, Tokyo and Washington DC, more cities to be added in the coming days. So grab your phone, head over to the Web site, create your own snow globe extravaganza and shoot it over to a friend.