As reported by MediaPost, TLP has come under intense scrutiny following allegations that one of its founders -- John Weaver -- engaged in inappropriate behavior, which has mushroomed into a social media campaign to cancel TLP altogether. We've continued to report on those developments, including that TLP hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation, and this week created a "transition advisory committee" to figure out what it should do next.
MediaPost will continue to cover these developments, but the specific elephant I'd like to address is a question I got about whether MediaPost planned to rescind our award in light of the news and questions about TLP's future.
We don't, because it has nothing to do with the criteria we used to select TLP as one of our agencies of the year in the first place.
When one staunch critic of the TLP asked, "Would you give [Hitler's propaganda minster Joseph] Goebbels an award?," I explained we have effectively named equivalents in the past, picking Putin's Internet Research Agency (IRA) for its efforts disrupting the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
And while it is fitting that we named TLP this year for effectively undoing that, it wasn't done because of any moral, or ideological reasons, but because -- like the IRA -- they were incredibly effective.
"It's the same kind of logic Time mag has used historically to name people like Hitler, Stalin and the Ayatollah 'man of the year'," I explained to the TLP critic, adding, "It's not based on them necessarily being 'good' persons, but based on being the most influential."
So whether or not TLP perseveres or goes down in flames, we stand by our award.
That said, I should add that the vast majority of people and organizations that have won MediaPost's agency of the year awards seem to be very good people indeed. In fact, it was partly because of CEO Adam Gerhart's push to put "empathy" at the center of his organization that we named Mindshare our Media Agency of the Year.
The bottom line is it's not a MediaPost AOY requirement that you are a good person, but it doesn't hurt.
By the way, we're still waiting for Putin to accept his award.