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Updates on Doner; It’s. Not. Pretty.


Correction: Todd Riley took over the interactive department when Keck moved to his new position as head of Emerging Media.

Update: We’re told Gail Offen was not demoted to CD.

After last/this week’s “bloodletting” at Doner, we’ve received more than a few tidbits about the state of the agency, why things happened the way they did, and what’s going to be changing now that some 100 employees are no longer calling the shop home. To start it off, we hear they lost a major account, demoted at least one ECD and a couple CDs and started the dreaded “do better or you’re gone” evaluations that tend to reek of bullshit. Here’s what we’re hearing (btw we contacted the agency but received no responses):

&#151 After some 20 creatives were let go from his group, ECD Randy Belcher, we’re told, has been demoted to CD and now works in ECD David Vawter‘s (We had it as Vader before, shoulda known) group.

&#151 CDs Michael Ward and Gail Offen were also demoted, to senior art director and senior writer.

&#151 SVP Emerging Media John Keck has been gone from the agency for more than a month; so Doner’s already late-to-the-game interactive department has been helmed by (according to sources) Todd Riley who took over the interactive department helm when Keck moved to his new position as head of Emerging Media. Many of you are saying that the agency’s paltry attempts at interactive have led to its demise. But who’s to blame? John DeCerchio, Sheldon Cohn and John Parlato? A culture of creativity based on work that includes characters and jingles does not a successful agency make.

&#151 Obviously all these changes mean there’s a new chain of command. ECD Rob Strasberg purportedly sent out a little message letting some of the creatives know they’ll be evaluated. Er, re-evaluated, since clearly someone had to decide whether they were axed or not last week. Why not just do it all at once?

&#151 This one is questionable but definitely shady if true. I’ll quote directly the source who shared so not to mess it up: “two of creatives who were laid off had left Doner before and had been rehired. When they were rehired, Doner agreed in writing to credit them for their years of former service, which is important come severance time &#151 but when push came to shove, Doner refused to honor their commitment. Translation: We know you won’t sue us because you don’t have money for a lawyer now.”

&#151 We’re told there were more layoffs yesterday, mostly of people who were gone last week, either out of town, sick etc. Many presumed they were safe. Not so. Still waiting on numbers.

Since the agency hasn’t done anything to help us get this right, we’re hoping some of you will. What you see above is a lot to swallow, so e-mail, anon tip, send a pigeon, call, IM, tweet &#151 just let us know if any of it’s wrong. Contacts: matt at mediabistro dot com, tweet: agencypsy, IM: AgencySpy, call: 212 547 7935.

More:Doner Advertising’s Lay-Off Madness

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