Some things never change. Amid all the furor over newfangled digital media issues, like ad fraud and programmatic pitfalls, it’s good to there’s still room in the advertising world for classic moves, such as stealing your company’s clients and starting your own business — allegedly.
On Friday, The Denver Post sued three former employees from its advertising sales force, along with an advertising agency they founded, for alleged theft of trade secrets and confidential information, with the intention of absconding with one of the newspaper’s advertising clients.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include former Denver Post SVP of advertising Reid Wicoff, former DP senior digital sales strategist David Staley, and former DP director of digital ad operations Nicole Brennan, as well as their digital agency startup, Digible.
The defendants all resigned abruptly from the newspaper earlier this month.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants used confidential information from the Post’s ad business to establish Digible, including lists of ad customers and financial information, as well as the proprietary ad technology of the paper's owner, MediaNews Group.
The technology in question, Adtaxi, helps advertisers optimize online ad placements across platforms, including search and social.
The lawsuit further alleges that while they were still Denver Post employees, the defendants deliberately misled other employees about the profitability from one specific advertising account. They are also charged with soliciting at least one client from the Post’s rolodex as potential business for their own company.The lawsuit also claims the trio had originally planned to space their departures out to avoid arousing suspicion, but resigned en masse after Wicoff was confronted about their plans on April 7. They then founded their new company, Digibile, on April 11.