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.
This year, as it has done for many, Wieden+Kennedy is joining Oregon's Bike Commute Challenge month, an effort which encourages more people to commute to work on a bike.
In a blog post, the agency explains further, writing: "The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, a non-profit bike advocacy group based in Portland, puts on the Bike Commute Challenge every September, during which businesses compete to have the highest percentage of commutes by bike. W+K is always a front runner in the competition (we’ll catch you this year, Reed College!)."
How many miles will the agency log this year? More than last, we hope -- but we're all just going to have to wait until the end of September to find out.
Good luck, W+K!
A while back you may have heard about the South African ad couple who quit their agency jobs and decided to travel the world and keep a journal of their adventure. As is usually the case with these "find yourself" journeys shared on
social media, activities and adventures almost always fall into the "damn, I wish I were them" category. Except for Chanel Cartell and Steve Dirnberger -- and likely, most others who just aren't
honest -- not every aspect of their travels has been epically spectacular.
In fact, they now clean toilets to help pay for their travels. In a recent blog post, the couple shared the fact that traveling the world isn't always roses or peaches and cream or whatever metaphor you want to apply. No, sometimes the money runs out and you've just gotta do what you've gotta do to make ends meet. And that's exactly what Cartell and Dirnberger have had to do.
In a blog post entitled We Quit Our Jobs In Advertising To Scrub Toilets, the couple share the less than glamorous side of world travel.
The couple write: "After being gone exactly 6 months, I feel it necessary we share the uglier side of our trip. Browsing through our blog posts and Instagram feed, it seems like we’re having the time of our lives. And don’t get me wrong -- we are. It’s bloody amazing. But it’s not all ice-creams in the sun and pretty landscapes. Noooooo. So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, 2 tons of rocks shoveled, 60 meters of pathway laid, 57 beds made, and I cannot even remember how many wine glasses we’ve polished."
And of the notion that we are often fooled by social media into thinking everyone's life but our own is spectacular, they add, "So don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. I am not at my fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest. We eat jam on crackers most days, get roughly 5hrs of sleep per night, and lug our extremely heavy bags through cobbled streets at 1am, trying to find our accommodation (because bus fares are not part of the budget, obviously)."
And so when you think your life sucks because everyone on social media seems to have such a perfect life, remember, social media favors the more positive aspects of life.
Following its new decentralized managerial model, Crispin Porter + Bogusky has hired a second managing director for its Boulder office. Devin Reiter, who previously worked with the agency on the
Microsoft account before leaving for a year-long stint at McCann Erickson New York, has returned and will work alongside the office's other managing director, Danielle Whalen.
Of the doubling up of managing directors, CP+B Global CEO Lori Senecal said: "We have small, tight teams of hands-on doers who are in charge of creating the very best work. So when an office becomes too large for one MD to have meaningful personal impact on each and every client business, we need to expand our leadership to deliver this promise."
The move follows -- and is line with -- the exodus of Andrew Keller, a 17-year veteran of the shop. Keller's position as executive creative director, and the oversight that position provided, was eliminated to make way for the new decentralized approach to management.
One wonders how long before the tide turns and the agency realizes the deck hands have taken over the ship and they've got a disorganized mutiny on their hands.
New York-based first-year MRY creative Sam Bartos has unveiled Ad Agency Bingo, a bingo game which
incorporates many of the activities, behaviors and plain old oddities he's witnessed during his first year at MRY.
Bingo squares include such activities as someone blatantly drinking before 2PM, somebody Tindering during a meeting, someone using the word "disruptive," somebody's dog pees in the office, someone says "advertorial," someone takes a selfie, someone you've slept with is in the same meeting as you and more.
In Sam's own words, here's how you sore the game:
“If you get a straight line, you can take it to your boss and ask that he promote you. Art Directors can become Senior Art Directors. Junior Copywriters will become Senior Junior Copywriters. etc.
If you get a diagonal line, you get to raid the office supply closet, Supermarket Sweep-style.
If your coworker gets a straight line, but you contributed by saying one of the things that helps them fill out one of the squares, you can scan their filled out sheet and put it in your portfolio as a project you worked on.
If you give the sheet to an intern to and they get a straight line, you can take credit for it as long as you write them a nice LinkedIn recommendation on their last day.
If you fill in a couple of the bubbles then get bored, fuck it, it’s 11:27. Lunch time.”
Oh, those damn new business prospects. Always asking for spec work for pitches. Will they ever learn? It's like asking a doctor to operate on your toe so he can prove he'll be successful operating
on your heart without even knowing the details of your health condition.
The HubSpot blog, Agency Post, asked 12 ad agency execs to spout off about spec work and what they think about the clients who request it.
Here's one of the better responses from Fuseideas' Dennis Franczak who said: "In written RFP responses, spec work is a waste of time. The reader may not have any context to what you are showing them. I also think when people ask it in an RFP they don’t understand how important developing creative is to us. It’s what we do. Asking us to just give it away means they already don’t respect you or what you do. To them, it’s like hiring somebody to provide them office supplies."
He continued: "For in-person presentations, it’s your chance to show them how you think or how you arrived at your creative approach. 95% of whatever gets done in a spec creative pitch is tossed out because you don’t have the background or the relationship with the client to know what they really need, but it shows how you think and it shows them you want their business."
What's your take on spec work?