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Tort Law Reform Anyone? Absurd Lawsuits And Crazy Claims Against BBDO

Advertising is a crazy business. Accordingly, staffers can get up to some crazy things. One woman has relentlessly taken her brand of crazy straight to the doors of BBDO Atlanta. The 42-year old woman filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint that was dismissed for lack of evidence and for being, well, far-fetched. And still, the ex-employee soldiered on to self-file a lawsuit against the company just this month.

On her list of crazy town complaints are things like being shown faxes written by the Executive Board, which talked about finding darkies to caddy for them during their golf games. She was allegedly called “puke” to her face and told that at 42 years of age, she was too old to be in an “industry [that] is fit for a younger crowd mainly in there 20s.” And the list goes on and on.

It’s just silly to even contemplate, so thanks for sending this to us, but erm… no. There is just no way that BBDO, an enormous beast of an agency with a robust human resources department would let this kind of verbal abuse and 1920s language (on a fax no less) enter the workspace.  I’m happy to say that I really do believe that in 2010 ad agencies would never stand for this, so there. Plus, the EEOC is not the FCC. Generally, they do their jobs pretty darn well.

The accuser did not respond to our calls for comment. Meanwhile, BBDO tells us that they are planning to defend their position vicariously vigorously. Shouldn’t be hard. We’ll keep you updated on this case as it moves through the courts, as we’re fascinated with the lawsuit’s audacity. For a more thorough look at the case, download the filings. We’ve blacked out the name of the accuser and the numerous number of the accused.

Editor’s note: *The link to the PDF is currently down as we need to delete a last name. It will be back up tomorrow. Thanks!
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The Hard Math of Social Media

Since the dawn of social media, clients have been asking their agencies, “How many sales is all this activity driving?” As an industry, we spend time doing what we do best–reframing that question, so that it sounded more like, “What’s the WOM value of social media?” Or, another spin would be, “What’s your return on influence or interaction?” While there is validity in both of those questions, honestly, we were also just being supremely dodgy.

However, such answers weren’t going to satisfy most CMOs. These individuals live by a P&L with a bonus structure tethered directly to sales. So, the question has changed just a tiny little bit in 2010. Now, with more educated clients, that question has become, “What is the value dollar of a like?” Wanna take a guess? I’ll give you a couple of minutes to do some back-of-the-envelope math. In the mean time, know that Syncapse has a number, as does Nielsen. The question is, do you believe them? Personally, it feels a little too close to foreclosure crisis thinking. No hard numbers. No hard facts. Go ahead. Sign on the dotted line and have your client hold you to that KPI. No thanks.

Such a state of affairs makes me keenly interested in anyone who is applying a little science to the craft of social media planning such as when Noah Brier posted “The Math of Viral.” That’s why I was also happy to read about Organic’s very own Jason Harper, who has started using social media as a way to foresee turns in the road ahead, to predict and thus optimize campaigns.

“To gauge the predictive powers of tweets and Facebook sign-ups, Harper borrowed the concepts of velocity and acceleration from the world of physics. To come up with those numbers, Harper had to collect data during three phases of a campaign: the baseline, or the number of Tweets or Facebook fans before an ad campaign starts; The Hot Zone, or the main surge of activity during the campaign, and the Fallout, the inevitable decline when the campaign is finished.”

Okay, so that’s the simple version of some serious calculus and the only thing you need to know is that this model, which Harper calls Velocity and Acceleration, can predict whether a mass-marketing campaign will reach its overall goals within the first few days it begins running. That’s a nice tool to have, no?

I’m wondering what kind of mathematics, if any, you’re using at all to predict, value, evaluate or optimize social media campaigns that play across one or many platforms. Because really, social media has advanced far beyond this two-way dialogue crap I hear people are still peddling, you dig?

If you’ve got something to say about this topic, guest posts are welcome: superspyin at gmail com

Kirshenbaum Coughs Up The Cash

Richard Kirshenbaum must be a Libra. The man behind the moneyed television program “Creative Lunch” (a show where rich people dined on expensive lunches and expounded on creativity), has balanced himself out.

The KBS+P namesake was Friday’s WSJ Donor of the Day for creating a scholarship with the Torch program, which works with underserved New York City high school students. Camille Crawford, a freshman at Pace University, will be the first recipient of the $20,000 scholarship and summer internship at KBS+P. Congratulations Camille!

In case you missed it, the subtext here is Richard and MDC, which is also helping five additional students a year, are talking about supporting minority students. Why ?

“If you watch ‘Mad Men’ you can see how it was through the ’50s, advertising companies were almost like investment banks,” says Kirshenbaum. “As demographics shift, we need to have creative voices that are representative of these changes.”

Dear Richard you are so right! U.S. Agencies need to diversify, so that they can actually offer deep insights, while leveraging the changing cultural landscape of the United States for their clients. The ad world could use a little diversification across all disciplines from women to gender-bending Blasians.

So, um Richard? This means that you should probably take a closer look at your own staff. Over at the KBS+P website, one is able to see all of the company’s shining, happy employees. Let’s see here… There is a graphic artist and a very cute business manger, as well as a production billing coordinator and media payable manager working at the agency.  All  of these folks are clearly minorities. However, it’s disappointing to see that none of these people are in positions where those “creative voices” Richard was talking about would come into play.

That’s alright. We’re betting on Camille to bring a new generation of mixed-up culture to KBS+P. Right, Camille?

Do you want to support Torch? Find out more about the outstanding program here.

More: Here’s Lori Senecal in Che Guevara Form

My Name is Super Spy. What’s Yours?

Super Spy here.

For those of you who don’t know the name, I’m the founder of this here blog. Long before there were fancy-pants banner ads running along the sidebar, AgencySpy resided on a humble little WordPress site. Our challenger brand status called for us to take on the establishment and tackle the taboo. We had a very good time doing it, too. Believe.

Later, Matt took the site from a guilty little pleasure to an established media resource. Kiran followed in his footsteps and looky-look! Agency Spy is still kicking and screaming and pointing fingers, and, and, and…’Tis a beautiful thing, no?

Since I’ve been gone, Cannes Lions have been won,  accounts have been lost, Deep Focus has been sold, Ben Malbon left BBDO BBH for Google Creative Lab, Anomaly got smaller, W+K New York got bigger. Toy got closed.

Of course, many things have stayed exactly the same. Lubars and Lars are still big ballers. Grey is still trying to define their digital offering. Adweek is still telling you stuff you already know and Marty-Mar is still grabbing press lines by the fistful. And you guys, you lovely readers of Agency Spy? How are you? What’s happening in your world? Let a lady know at superspyin at gmail dot com.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting on the site whenever I get a free moment. I’ll also be inviting some friends of mine round to shake things up a bit, too. Sound good? I hope so.

It’s lovely to be back!

x Super Spy

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Agency Spy’s List Of Halloween Advertising Favorites

Along with every holiday comes a host of associated advertising. We selected six our favorites for your end of day viewing pleasure.

Happy Halloween!
x Super Spy (We reposted this from last year, due to its classic-ness &#151 aw, we miss you SuperSpy, where ever you are)

Now this dark and creepy spot is not a real ad for Levi’s, but it’s darn good. This ad was created as promo material for AboveGrey Pictures and honestly, I enjoyed watching it much more than the recent Levi’s spots.

See the rest after the jump.

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Agency Leadership Pic Of The Day: Louise Dengerud!


This is Louise Dengerud – a senior account director at Minneapolis shop, OLSON. She’s responsible for overseeing brand and marketing strategy for several key interactive clients at the agency. Follow Louise on Twitter @sugarsays.

If you’ve got a favorite bio pic of agency leadership, please send it on over to superspyin at gmail dot com.

More: Agency Leadership Pic Of The Day: David Trim!

Monday Comes + The Most Popular Pieces From The Last Seven Days


Matt will be back on Monday to helm the Agency Spy ship. I had a good time over the past week. Hope you guys did, too. I need to go back to sporadic posting, since a gal has to work, especially in this market. I will be posting Op-Eds though, so if you’ve got a good one please email me at superspyin at gmail dot com. Bon week and here are the most popular pieces over the last seven days:

1. GSD&M Shucks And Jives, Catches Some Heat For Popeye’s

2. Ogilvy’s Whistleblower: Avon, Over Billing + A Lawsuit

3. Bad News Of The Day: Cuts To Come At Doner

4. Doner Advertising’s Lay-Off Madness

5. Fallon Minn.’s 99 Problems – Kelly, Wiggins Depart; Spiller Comes Aboard As ECD

6. The Trolls Of Madison Avenue By Alan Wolk

7. AdAge Has It Wrong. The Enfatico/Dell Website Story Is Crap

No Wukkas: Michigan Style


For those of you pounding the pavement in Michigan, here’s what we found below. Good luck!

1. Advertising Communications and Marketing Manager – Detroit Media Partnership, Detroit (link)

2. Advertising Coordinator – Little River Casino, Manistee (link)

3. Copywriter – Campbell-Ewald, Southfield (link)

4. Copywriter -Olmstead Assoc., Flint (link)

5. Art Director – Pitney Bowes, Farmington Hills (link)

6. Lead Interaction Designer – Digitas, Detroit (link)

7. Account Supervisor – Campbell Ewald, Warren (link)

8. Sr. Vice President/Account Director – Globalhue, Detroit (link)

9. Director, Program Operations – Momentum Worldwide, Detroit (link)

10. Account Executive – Sinclair Broadcast Group, Flint (link)

11. Resource Manager – Organic, Detroit (link)

12. Online Marketing Coordinator/SEO and SEM – Fluency Media, Ann Arbor (link)

$100M Radio Shack Account Goes To Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners


It’s finally happened. Radio Shack has selected a winner in their review. It’s California shop BSSP. No one was surprised when the account went into review considering Radio Shack tagged a new CMO, Lee Applbaum in September 2008. A few months later he told the WSJ in an article about the life of a new Chief Marketing Officer that: ‘If you start hearing the phrase, “but that’s how we’ve always done it,” [from your ad agency] you might need to move on, Applbaum said. And that’s what precisely he did. The incumbent was Arnold Boston who was eliminated in the early rounds of competition.

Radio Shack is trying on a new look for their brand. This year, stores will be offering an in-store trade-in program. Customers will be able to bring in working items (consoles, phones, laptops) and an employee will give you a gift card charged up with the appraised value. This an extension of an online trade-in program Radio Shack has offered since 2008. Who knew?

Other good news? With Circuit City out of the way, Radio Shack has seen a boost in their web traffic. And the bad news: Radio Shack’s Chief Executive received a compensation package $5.5M in 2008. Folks are not happy about that considering the company has a few rough years, but what else is new? Executive pay? Bah.

More: Omnicom: John Wren’s Salary And His Track Record Of Holding It Down

And The Ohio Lottery Account Goes To…


Today is kind of making us high. It might be the weather, but it also might be all the nice accounts wins we’ve gotten to report today. Here’s the latest: Sixty year old Ohio ad firm Northlich has been selected as the lead agency of record for the Ohio Lottery Commission’s advertising and creative assignments. Northich isn’t new to the lotto business having been on the Kentucky Lottery Corporation account back in 2006.
Northlich also recently picked up the Cincinnati Bell account. Roll on Northlich…

The company is also looking to hire a PR Management Supervisor out of Columbus. They’re looking for at least ten years of experience, FYI. Get all the details here.

More: Digital Is Traditional, Traditional Is Digital: Razorfish Goes 360