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.
The Warc 100, an annual list of the best agencies based on an analysis of winning campaigns across 87 different award events or competitions, has named Lowe Lintas India the number one agency on its 2015 list. The agency scored 213 points and was closely followed by AMV BBDO with 191 and Colenso BBDO with 148.
Of the recognition, Lowe Lintas
India CEO Joseph George said: "We have had a terrific run on creative effectiveness this year across the globe; and all the accolades have further reinforced our belief in the type of work we want to
do and believe in."
Chicago's Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, followed by PHD Mumbai. 360i New York was named top digital agency with R/GA New York taking second place.
The Warc 100 is a ranking of top marketing campaigns and companies that the organization says is based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions. The organization does not disclose the competitions that it uses to devise the ranking.
Clearly Havas Chicago hasn't been paying attention to recent research that found open office space to be decidedly less productive than that of the old school office. The agency recently completed
a $10 million renovation of its 81,000-square-foot River North office space transforming two floors of office space into a wide open, unproductive free-for-all.
And get this. The agency used to occupy three floors. Now it occupies two. They say that's because the new office design uses space more efficiently. Translated into English, that means stuffing the same amount of bodies into a smaller space to save money.
The new design has done away with all offices and added all the usual distracting crap you'd expect to see in an advertising agency: graffiti, a soda fountain and a bubble hockey table. They've even added bicycle racks and a "town hall" meeting area with bleachers. Oh, and they've given the new space a cute new name; Havas Village. Because yeah -- it takes a village to raise children and, well, that's pretty much what ad agency people are; spoiled little brats who prefer a playpen instead of an office in which to "work."
Okay, that's harsh, but I can say that because I've been there.Of the new space, Havas Chicago CEO Paul Marobella said: "The big part of this space, outside of how cool it is, is that it's really built for utility and built for a purpose. Creative, media, strategy and account all sit together, organized by account. What's different about us is we can make a decision on Monday and it will be implemented by Friday."
It's really kind of strange -- and, well, depressing -- that actual adults with actual jobs in actual ad agencies that are actual businesses that, you know, are run by actual adults actually need
advice like this, but apparently this is the case.
Penning a piece for The Chattanoogan (what the hell kind of name for a news outlet is that?), Connect Marketing Head Honcho Clint Powell has some advice that really shouldn't be the kind of advice that actual adults need. Kids, maybe, but actual adults? No. In any event, he wrote the piece and if you've worked in the ad business for any length of time, you know full well there are, unfortunately, plenty of people who need this advice.
His advice? Knowing when to say things clearly and in a way that doesn't waste other people's time nor make you end up looking like a fool. He offers up four things that are perfectly okay to say but for some reason, people are too scared to say them. They are "I am sorry," "I can not do that," "I don't know" and "Let's be clear." You can read his whole article for the details but, seriously, you really shouldn't have to.
Toronto-based agency john st. has made an interesting hire. Hoping to beef up their digital services, the agency has brought in "an accomplished entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience
building global digital media and consumer internet businesses from concept through to final acquisition."
So who did the agency hire? The guy's name is Tom St. John. Yeah. No kidding. john st. hired St. John. Like, when does that ever happen?
Of joining the agency, St. John says, “I feel that john st. has done some of the most innovative digital work in the country for some time now, but I believe that there is room for them to lead the broader digital discussion with clients. Analytics, social ROI, branded content, mobile advertising, online video -- these are just some of the challenges our clients are facing, and we can help them maximize those opportunities.”
Working with McCann London, the folks behind Cannes Lions have launched a new campaign that suggests agencies offer to send their worst employees to the festival of creativity this year...because
it's cheaper than firing them and paying severance.
The purpose, of course, is to make one last-ditch effort to inspire the -- shall we say -- less inspired by dropping them into the center of advertising creativity for one week. I guess if after a week in Cannes they still suck, well, then it's time to bid them adieu. Although you will have to pay them severance then, so the whole send-them-to-Cannes thing is, indeed, a gamble.
Headlines to the ads read: "Nisha, Strategist. Has dedicated seven loyal years to your agency. With very little to show for it" and Samuel, Producer. You fought hard to hire him. Responds to every suggestion with 'It can't be done.'" The ads are signed off with "Buy her/him a delegate pass. Cheaper than severance."
Of the approach, McCann London CCO Rob Doubal said: "Although our campaign is humorous, it makes a very sensible point. Why should being a Cannes Lions delegate be the preserve of the already excellent? If we really want a more creative world, as we all profess, we should also be encouraging the not-so-excellent performers to be inspired by Cannes Lions."
Funny stuff, this campaign. Trouble is, now everyone that is sent to Cannes by their agency is now going to have a gigantic inferiority complex along with nightmares about whether or not agency management thinks they’re up to snuff.
Oh, and the poor people who had to pose for the campaign -- branded losers for life!