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The Spies

Talk, Talk, Talk…


Because our comment system is shit on a stick, we don’t get to talk to you guys very often. It seems that Safari users are sort of out in left field. Yikes! And yes, we’ve complained about it oh, I’d say a billion times.

So, there’s the tip box, but if you want to send us say, a video, a missive from your that genius boss of yours or simply, a lovely invitation for tea, it’s best to email us.

Simply whip up a fake Gmail account and contact us at:

General: agencyspy at gmail dot com


Super Spy – superspyin at gmail dot com

Matt – mathewvanhoven at gmail dot com

Or, Spy Writer – thespywriter at

You’ll be in touch, yeah? Merci.

SuperSpy will be in…

… meetings all day. Matt will hold down it for sure.
Super Spy

Say Anything


Alright folks. Mediabistro has gone ahead and done actually something worthy of an online media company. They’ve made it easy to comment. Hoorah! It’s only 2008. Sheesh.

All you gotta do is click on the “login” on the comments link at the bottom of a post. A window will ask you to login or register. First time users should (natch) click register and put in an email address and select a password.

If you don’t plan on commenting ever again, then go ahead and make up an email address. If you do, fill out your dummy account’s email addy, so you keep me track and have conversations, blah, blah, blah.

I’ve had a few hard headed haters of the MB comment system give it a go. They all seem quite pleased. They even left comments! Hot damn!

So, I ask you… please give it a try? Say anything! Say something! We miss you guys. It’s so much less fun without the comments.

Oh Hello Again!

Good morning, advertising! Super Spy here. Did you miss me? I missed you. I really did, but I’m back now. The family is back together. Why you ask? How did it happen that I’ve been re-instated to the Mediabistro family tree?

If you recall, I called it a day back in May. I was tired, spent, in need of a serious vacation, but just as Adverganza predicted, the siren song of blogging lured me back to WordPress. I started my own random little thing called The Brief. It was a quiet storm of advertising thoughts and notes. It was a down low blog just like hip-hop mini-mogul, Jermaine Dupri’s, sexual orientation. And then, you know, media companies and their protectionist contracts… I got nabbed. Mediabistro came a callin’ and I had choices to make.

I’m back bitches. Matt and Spy Writer were nice enough to make a little room for me back here in the club house. On the plus side, I signed up for the comments system and low and behold! It worked! It really did, so I hope that you’ll all do the same, so we can parlay and whatnot.

So, y’all ready to ball? If you want to contact me direct, it’s superspyin at gmail dot com
or hit me on the instant message machine at superspyin.

Alright. Lets do this.

An Analogy to Start Your Weekend Right

Some of you know what the pelican in this video is going through, as you’ve undoubtedly downed one of more glasses of pigeon Kool-aid. Ponder that thought for awhile, because today you’ll be without me. Lots of to-dos to do. Check back for SpyWriter’s posts throughout the day. I may be able to squeeze a few in later, but I’m planning a trip to Pazza Notte for some martinis. I guess I’ve been watching too much MadMen lately &#151 cuz’ all I can think about is smoking Lucky Strikes, tipping back scotch, and (hopefully) finding a martini lunch spot. Shouldn’t be tough &#151 this is New York.

Steak Tartare and Consumer Confusion


Last night was a celebratory evening here at casa Van Hoven, and so I ordered take-out from a nearby fancy-schmancy restaurant. I wanted steak, but I wanted something different. I was ready to venture into a new brand of beef, so to speak.

In all my years, I had heard about an interesting dish named Steak Tartare. You’ve probably all seen or heard of it, and know that it’s served raw. But like a bad game of telephone, I had always heard that it’s served rare.

So when it arrived, I was naturally curious and really, really skeptical about whether or not it was safe to eat. Bear in mind, my expectation was a well seasoned, perfectly seared 16 oz. steak.

Instead, I got a hunk of meat shaped like a big slice of pineapple and filled with capers and a raw egg. Could there be anything less appetizing? Find out after the jump.

Read more

We Like to Pawty

Our friends at Gawker apparently saw yesterday’s post about about their media meshing night out at Sweet and Vicious here in NYC. Well, fresh from the camera of Gawker’s own Nick McGlynn, here’s a taste of what and who you missed while you watched Step It Up and Dance.

Check out more photos here. I had planned to go, but last minute had to cancel because an appointment changed. Tonight I make up for lost G&Ts in midtown. Ah, I love summer in New York, when everyone leaves, tourists arrive and I mistakenly go to dinner near Times Square, forgetting it will be hell.

A Fan’s Last Note


Fredrick Exley, the troubled author of the extraordinary “A Fan’s Notes” said that: “The most difficult thing about striving for adulation is when you finally get the damn thing. Then what have you got? Goofy kids with backpacks knocking on your door.”

Every blogger strives to create and serve a community. I hope I achieved that goal. The blog was about sparking a conversation and taking the piss out of a cloistered business. Who else could remove advertising’s blinders and mess with protocol other than you guys – the forgotten soldiers on the front lines of this creativity war? I thank you for making that shit happen. All the comments, tips, emails and IMs… Thank you, because without you guys getting in their and shooting for the stars, this blog would have been vapor. At it’s best, the blog managed to give a voice to some of the more antiquated aspects of this business, while kicking and screaming about all the truth and all the exciting stuff that never makes it into those pompous press releases. I think you and I, we didn’t do a bad job of it? Legend, no, no, but good start? Hell, yes.

I’m just exhausted. You aren’t goofy kids with backpacks, but you are news hungry ad folk with Blackberrys. I’m just too tired to keep up with the regular hashing of the biz that this type of site demands, while holding down the gig that actually pays my bills. Also, it’s a brand new day here on MB. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, new bloggers have been ever so slowly taking over. It’s time for someone else to helm this ship, while I sip mojitas in a lawn chair on the poop deck.

One of my favorite bloggers, Adverganza, swears I’ll be back unable to stay away from this blogging addiction and hell, that may be true. I do have this Fifth Column thing I badly want to do, but where it will live… not sure yet, but it doesn’t involve blogging. It’s something else.

Regardless, my time at Agency Spy has come to a close (snuffle, sniffle). If you want to contact me, I’ve set up a new email address with an unacceptable, but irresistible nod to Charlie’s Angels: mailforsabrinaduncan at gmail dot com

So, yeah. Word. Here are some of my top rated posts from the close to 1600 I’ve penned in my one-year career:

Tits, Ass And American Apparel’s Backlash

The Story Behind Rausch, EuroRSCG and Sprint

Why Do You Hate The Gap?
Dude, What’s With The Girl Sitting On Your Lap?
Who Is The Sexiest Man In Advertising?
McCann’s Small Time Plan For Applebee’s
Richard’s Lunch Makes Us Barf (Just A Little Bit)

Dem Haters And Juan Cabral
The Entire Social Media Series

Now for the liner notes:
Thanks to George Parker, Tangerine Toad, HighJive, Steve Hall of Adrants, The Tribble Agency, Adweek’s Brian Morrissey, Creativity’s Nick Parish, Source Communications’ Colin Nagy, Michael Hastings-Black of creative shop Desedo, Jonah Bloom from AdAge for his total kindness during some of the blog’s dust-ups (ahem…), Bob Tedeschi at The New York Times, the ever wonderful Ms. Lee, Bill Green at Make The Logo Bigger, Chris Ariens at MB, DownLow (natch) and the numerous nameless tipsters who kept me in the news and out of the dumps when necessary. Thank you all.

Super Spy

Things To Come…

As my last hoorah, I’ve been working on something called The Fifth Column. A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal, such as a nation or you know, an advertising firm. (Hat tip the the head creative bloke)

It’s for everyone in the ad industry and I hope you guys will like it. Soon… Soon… Patience please. In the mean time, new bloggers along with Down Low will be coming on this week to take over where I have left off.

I adore all of you, y’know.

One, Two, Two And A Half: Meet The Latest Spy

Matt Head.jpg

As you all know, I’ve got one foot out the door (sob, sob), but what is awesome, is that you guys will have some hungry new bloggers to entertain you.

First up, I’d like you to meet the Mathew Van Hoven who is going on the record with his name and other personal details. Van Hoven (so posh right?) is a New York based journalist with a background in advertising, the creative side. He’s in his 20s or there abouts and he seems quite nice.

So, welcome! You can expect to see work from Mathew appearing in the next day or so. You can contact him at: adhound at gmail dot com