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Boo! Hiss! The Pirate Bay Founders Are Going To Jail

Founders of one of the world’s top file sharing sites, The Pirate Bay, have been found guilty. A Swedish court has sentenced the four men behind the Swedish BitTorrent site to one year in jail. Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and millionaire donor Carl Lundstrom must also pay $3.59 million in damages.

Kolmisoppi Twittered this morning: “Nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or file-sharing whatsoever,” he said. As well, in an internet press conference this morning (see above), he also compared the trial to the 80s film, The Karate Kid, where the good guy gets bullied, but comes back after training to face the bully and win. In the end, he insists, “we’ll kick their ass,” so wait for that appeal, yeah?

For more on the story, head here.

More: Ad Spend Going From TV To Movies? Is That Really The Best Plan?

Agency Leadership Pic Of The Day: David Trim!


Yesterday’s leadership photo was a bit rock star. Let’s swing the other direction, yeah?

Here’s David Trim, Executive VP of Creative Services at Russ Reid – Omnicom’s direct response agency for non profits. This photo comes from an internal bio for RR and therefore, makes the cut.

Thanks goes out to E. for sending it in. 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: Jeff Weiss!

Doner Advertising’s Lay-Off Madness


Earlier this week, we posted an email from Doner’s CEO Alan Kalter to his staff about the impending cuts to come at the shop. Over the past few days, the reports coming out of Doner are less like the usual round of layoffs and more like a bloodbath. Damn. It.

We repeatedly contacted the agency for exact numbers and details, but the agency did not reply to our attempts. So, here’s a few reports from the readership:

- “Doner let the entire Direct creative group go – except for ECD Randy Belcher and CD Valerie Foley.”

- “Almost 100 people have been let go and two satellite offices are closing.”

- “Doner layoffs are at 100… BTW, no Sr. Management cuts.”

We’re hoping that the agencty will soon let us know how many of their 900 person staff was let go; whether more cuts are to come and if indeed, satellite offices and disciplines will be closed down. Facts are better than rumors any day.

More: AgencySpy Job Listings

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


Update: Ogilvy has sent us the following statement: “At the time of the allegations, Ogilvy’s Chief Ethics Officer and Internal Audit did a thorough investigation of the claim and found no wrongdoing. The complaint was filed with the Department of Labor which dismissed it in its entirety. The case was then filed in Federal Court. Ogilvy has moved to dismiss the case as the allegations are without merit. We do not comment on ongoing litigation.”


Lisa Steiman was an Sr. Partner executive producer at Ogilvy. Now, she’s filed a lawsuit against the company WPP and Ogilvy. As well, a host of other high ranking Ogilvy staffers – both past and present – are mentioned in the filing. The lawsuit was filed on December 31, 2008 and contains elements of whistle-blowing, as well as alleging wrongful termination. Download the PDF of the claim.

Ms. Steinman began her employment with Ogilvy in April 1996. By 2001, she had risen to be a Senior Partner, which is damn hard to do. She reported to the highly accomplished Lynn Roer, the Director of the Broadcast Department.

Ms. Steiman claims that Ogilvy asked her to take charge of the Avon account in 2007, “due to Avon’s dissatisfaction with Ogilvy’s prior performance on this account.” Apparently, there were two incidents that led to their unhappiness: a reshoot of a broadcast spot at the agency’s expense and unhappiness with the Christian Lacroix/Avon perfume campaign. In this latter case, Avon had selected a photographer, Javier Vallhonrat, to shoot the spot, but allegedly pulled out for a lower priced competitor. Vallhonrat ended up threatening to sue, so Ogilvy paid him $25,000. The agency asked Avon to help cover the cost of this mishap, but the client refused.

At this time, Ms. Steinman alleges that Roer “directed Steiman to engage in fraudulent billing as part of an attempt to pass the cost of the $25,000 settlement onto Avon.” The lawsuit claims that: “Prior to August 2007 – when Ms. Steiman told Ms Roer that she was not comfortable with billing Avon $25,000 through Eyepatch Studios and misrepresenting that the charge was for the music composer, when his services only cost $10,000.”

Still, Ms Roer supposedly insisted. “This way, Defendants [Ogilvy] would fraudulently pass on to Avon $15,000 of the $25,0000 Vallhonrat Settlement, even though Avon had expressly refused to pay that cost.” At this point, the lawsuit claims that Steiman invoked the memory of the Shona Seifert and Thomas Early case, where the two ad execs were nameed for overbilling the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2005. No matter. Roer allegedly continued to persist.

On August 16, 2007, Steiman visisted Roer and said she was not comfortable. She couldn’t do it. Ms. Roer is said to have said: “Well, it’s not like we were doing anything wrong; I was just putting a mark-up on it.” Oh yes… we have all heard that logic at one point another in this business.

This is where Steiman says that Ogilvy began to retaliate against her by “marginalizing her, removing her from accounts, not allowing her to work on accounts” as well as giving her inaccurate poor performance reviews. She was removed from the Avon account by October 2007. Steiman sought intervention from higher ups such as Steve Hayden Vice Chairman of Ogilvy. It is unclear what action was taken.

Around this same time, Jeff Curry, Ogilvy’s Creative Director on the Minute Maid account requested that Steiman be assigned to work with his team. In January 2008, Roer allegedly pulled her from the account. Mr. Curry “expressed shock and anger.”

This cycle suppsedly continued. Steiman went to Carlene Zanne of human resources and Joe Panetta of the Ethics Department in January 2008. At this time they asked if she was aware of any other unethical practices. “Ms Steinman brought up the issue that Ogilvy is a Screen Actor’s Guild signatory, which means it is contractually obligated to use SAG talent.” However, on a job for Six Flags, they did not. Weird detail, right? On January 12, 2008, she was removed from the Six Flags account again, supposedly by Ms Roer. On April 2, 2008 she was fired.

Now, Lisa works at Google (very cool). Avon, as of February 2008, selected Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners to handles its fragrances. The company still works with WPP owned and Ogilvy partner company Soho Square, which offers integrated marketing services.

More: Lars Bastholm Jumps To Ogilvy

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And Now A Few Moments With The Unemployed… Part IV



Join us as we follow one man’s journey through the windblown plains of joblessness. Meet Todd Beeby, a recently laid off NYC-based writer/creative director.

As I walk among the buildings of downtown and midtown with no particular place to go, I think of all the productive FUN you people are having inside. Solving problems creatively. Discovering unique and actionable insights. Writing smart creative briefs. Thoughtfully purchasing targeted media. Taking part in focused, rewarding meetings. Partnering with clients as equals to build their brand. Sacrificing personal gain for the good of the company. Just one, big, happy brainstorming family. Whoa, whuh?! You can see how some time on the outside might skew my view of what’s REALLY going on in there.

For the unemployed it’s like this: the city’s having the world’s biggest pizza party, and we’re not invited. And dammit, we’d like some pizza. Even if it’s room temperature. And the Domino’s guy put the cheese up his nose. And the soda-pop is flat. And there’s no ice.

Now we’re not saying you have to love everything about your job. Just take a moment or two to appreciate it; to look at it from another perspective. Here are some tips on how you can make today a brighter one for everyone around you, broken down by department for your convenience:

- Try NOT being such a good facsimile of the client at today’s internal creative review
- Tell that copywriter you appreciate his/her hard work (they’re insecure!)
- Don’t agree to do everything the client says over the phone then pretend you fought them on it when you tell the creatives


Read more

Adweek Vs. Adage: The Final Countdown


If you haven’t noticed, Adweek and Adage are in a fight to the death – for ad dollars, as well as for relevancy. Lately, bloggers and serious journalists alike have been taking the pair to task. Longtime advertising reporter Lewis Lazare of Chicago’s Sun Times recently wrote:

“Too much of the online editorial in both Adweek and its principal competitor Advertising Age nowadays is devoted to issues peripheral to the real business of advertising, which presumably is what both magazines were created to cover.”

AdPulp followed up with written:

“This year’s Agency Report Card special report shows how little interest Adweek has in covering advertising agencies.”

These are just two examples of a larger sentiment. Look through any of the ad blog’s comments and you’ll find readers poo-pooing the publications coverage. In some cases, each of these outlets have some sharp writers such as Adweek’s Brian Morrissey and AdAge’s Nick Parish, but over all – the people are disappointed. FAIL.

So… the question is – what do you want AdAge/Adweek to do? How they hell can they serve us all better? I’ll kick off this list.

1. Look beyond the press release and write the real story. Damn the man!

2. Invest in investigative, long form journalism. Listen, AgencySpy is a blog. There’s places we can’t go because hell… lots of people don’t take us seriously. But you guys? You guys are for reals. You’re venerable. You have dedicated writers and budgets. Sure. Maybe it’s a small budget, but at least you have one. Brian Morrissey is writing some of the best long form advertising editorials over on his personal blog. Not for Adweek. What’s with that? Is it the fear of losing advertising dollars? Hell… Look at the NY Times. You’re going to lose them anyway, so why not at least, serve your public with great editorial?

3. Get local. If the NY Times and the Huffington Post can cover news by locality, then why can’t you guys get some bloggers together and just do the damn thing? We have one blogger full time on AgencySpy. We can’t get to it all, but damn… we’ve got more regional than you guys. Sad.

Who’s got number 4? Number 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9? The comments section awaits.

Op-Ed: With Apologies To The Survivors By Erik Proulx


With Apologies To The Survivors

Pity advertising’s poor employed.

For they must endure the awkward goodbyes,

Uncomfortable elevator rides

And not-so-happy hours

With this quarter’s box-packers.

They climb a crumbling ladder.

And march to the beat of a company drum.

“Do this time sheet. Write that brief. Increase that point size.”

Tap. Tap. Tap.

They bang more gangs, miss more birthdays, and take home smaller paychecks.

They sacrifice Shutters On The Beach for Viceroy On The Avenue.

So they can do worse work.

Clutching tight the memories of better days.

When employees were assets, not expenses.

Ideas were solutions, not risks.

And agencies were partners, not vendors.

They are contestants in another bonus round of Agency Survivor

Where they get to live another quarter.

Fighting off the smugness of invincibility.

And, when the sickle swings again,

The vulnerability of panic.

And lastly

They must suffer the indignity of morning alarm clocks.

For they know not the thrill of waking unaided

To the anxiety of next month’s mortgage payment.

By Erik Proulx – an ACD/Copywriter and writes the blog Please Feed The Animals. A Blog For The Recently Unemployed Advertising Professional.

McCann Erickson Loses HP To Publicis


Hewlett-Packard has selected Publicis Groupe (Modem and Geneva) to handle its personal-computers division across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Big win. They’ve stolen the account from McCann Erickson who did try to defend.

McCann is battling on all fronts these days, at least in the U.S. Zicam, the maker of cold remedies with an account $25M, is searching to replace McCann Erickson, Los Angeles. They are currently engaged in a battle for some Microsoft business despite being the “lead agency.”

HP is already the biggest personal-computer maker worldwide, and now, has surpassed Dell in the US market Dell for the first time since 2001, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Dell is just slipping all over the place. Dell’s research strategy clearly isn’t helping the company, nor is its advertising.

More: McCann NY Did What?

The Domino’s Apology Video, Sex Offenders + Pranks

Is this apology video from Domino’s President Patrick Doyle going to be able to fix the mess those cheesehead employees when they posted that ultra disgusting video? Sure, the employees have been fired, but the internet is on fire with not only the lack santiary issues of the company, but the fact that one of the culprits is a registered sex offender. Moms and Pops everywhere are quickly removing the Domino’s number from their speed dial. In an e-mail to Domino’s, the woman in the video, Kristy Lynn Hammond claimed it was all a prank. Sure it was. Domino’s isn’t buy it either and has filed civil and criminal charges.

More: The Simpsons Adidas House Party Knock-Off

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


Adweek is reporting that Omnicom Group CEO John Wren received total compensation of $2.95 million last year, including $1 million in salary, according to the company’s annual proxy statement. However, this amount is 74% less than his take in 2007, which was a whopping $10.39 million.

The paper also has this information: “DDB worldwide CEO Chuck Brymer and BBDO worldwide CEO Andrew Robertson earned $1.87 million and $1.85 million in compensation, respectively, down from $3.86 million and $4.57 million, respectively, in 2007, per the proxy. Their salaries, however, remained constant: Brymer’s stayed at $850,000 and Robertson’s at $900,000.”

The question is – do these guys deserve their salaries? True, they all took a hit on pay in 2007, as they should have considering the market’s downturn and the numbers filling out the ranks of the unemployed, but is close to $3M to much for Wren?

Historically, Omnicom and Wren have done a good job of weathering downturns. In 2001, the last great fiscal storm, Omnicom was the only holding company to maintain positive growth. IPG was just getting its balance sheet in order. WPP took a hit of -1.5% and in 2002, -5.9%. Havas had a small gain of .3, but in 2002, organic growth took a nosedive coming in at -5.8%. Publicis? Two thousand and one – 3.1%, but again, in 2002, they take a hit, down -3.9%. In essence, Omnicom kept it together.

Two thousand and nine looks a bit different. This year, according to analysts, the company is slated to follow the trend of the other holding companies and take a massive hit of around -5%. Wren and Omnicom are no longer out performing the top line.

More: WPP Downgraded To Hold