Former CCO Sues TBWA; David vs. Gut Talent War: Thursday’s First Things First

Plus Google's underwhelming fine

From left: Juan Javier Peña Plaza, Carmen Rodriguez and Ricardo Casal. The trio officially joined Gut, the latest battle in the talent war between the agency and David Miami. Gut
Headshot of Jameson Fleming

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Today’s top stories

Longtime Exec on TBWA’s Apple Account Is Suing the Agency

One of the iconic minds behind many of Apple’s legendary campaigns like “Mac vs. PC,” the iconic “Silhouette” for iPod and the ongoing “Shot on iPhone” campaign is suing his former agency, TBWA, for age discrimination. Duncan Milner, who spent more than 30 years at TBWA, says in a lawsuit that he was presented with two options: take a 50% pay cut and take on three additional accounts or accept a severance package and leave the company.

Read more: Adweek spoke to Milner about his final years at TBWA and the lawsuit, which also details the trust Steve Jobs had in Milner as Jobs’ health deteriorated.

David vs. Gut: How a Talent War Erupted in Miami

The creative scene in Miami initially faded after Crispin Porter + Bogusky left the city for Boulder in 2006. Thirteen years later, it’s a hotbed for talent thanks to David Miami, Gut and more. Over the last two years, a tussle over talent has consumed the city as the independent-agency Gut has continuously poached some of David’s top award-winning minds.

The latest blow to David comes as two more of the agency’s most awarded ecds, Ricardo Casal and Juan Javier Peña Plaza, left for Gut.

Read more: Agency editor Doug Zanger’s in-depth piece looks at both angles of the story.

  • Why the lure of independence has allowed Gut to assemble a star-studded roster of creatives.
  • David’s strategy for rebuilding a top agency with a new generation of leadership.

FTC Fines Google $170 Million for Violating Children’s Privacy

Odds are if you’ve used YouTube in the last couple days, you’ve gotten a notification that it launched a new site for kids, appropriately called YouTube Kids. That standalone product arrived ahead of a settlement with the FTC for $170 million. For perspective, Google reported $38.94 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter.

The fine stemmed from a 2016 complaint brought by the New York attorney general’s office that YouTube used behaviorally targeted advertising on content intended for children. The site has in the past repeatedly marketed its kids content, branding itself as the “New Saturday Morning Cartoons” in presentations to toy companies while collecting information from viewers for the purposes of targeted advertising.

Read more: Learn why the FTC didn’t impose any new rules for YouTube publishers and Google.

Marriott Marketing Chief Karin Timpone to Step Down

Karin Timpone, Marriott’s global marketing officer, is stepping down at the end of 2019 to “pursue new opportunities,” the company announced on Wednesday.

Timpone, who has been with Marriott since 2013 and was a 2017 Adweek Brand Genius and a 2016 Adweek 50 recipient, led the company’s marketing this year around its new Marriott Bonvoy rewards program, investing resources into building a robust content play for paid, earned and owned media.

During her tenure, the company grew its loyalty membership to 135 million members.

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Ad of the Day: Borderlands 3 Is Invading Bland Ads With Enjoyably Chaotic Results


Like Mad Max driving a flaming, flesh-covered bulldozer through a Tide ad, the campaign for video game Borderlands 3 is equal parts creepy, chaotic and meta.

Made by in-house creative teams at game publisher 2K, the spots are currently making viewers do double takes on Instagram and YouTube, where seemingly everyday ads quickly shift to scorched-earth, apocalyptic insanity. Watch all five ads here.

3 career questions with Erik Petersen, head of marketing, Heat

How to have “uncomfortable” conversations with clients about diversity and inclusion

You need to be direct and proceed with the assumption that people have good intentions until they prove otherwise. If after discussing the need with your clients you get to a place where you feel uncomfortable with the direction you’re headed then you need to decide what line you will not cross and communicate it clearly.

What’s one skill marketers must have now that they didn’t really need three years ago?

You have to be able to be comfortable with short-term engagements, going from project to project. This existed 3 years ago but it has become much more pronounced now. It requires you to be laser focused on near term goals, strategy, and finances. You must make sure you deliver but you cannot give your services away. It’s a delicate balance, you want to please the client but that doesn’t necessarily mean giving them exactly what they think they need. You want to deliver on time but you cannot deliver work that’s less than great. It’s being comfortable working with shorter timelines and smaller budgets.

How did you overcome a tough moment in your career?

You need to step back and consider what the damage really is. Are you overreacting, did you do something like a “reply all” or an accidental forward, that we all have done? Will it be forgotten in a day? Can you address it directly with those impacted, in person? If it is truly career damaging then you need to own up right away. Accept responsibility and people are usually pretty forgiving. Regardless you need to accept responsibility and move forward.

AT&T CBO Fiona Carter on the business of marketing and societal impact

Fiona Carter’s role as CBO is quite unique in that she oversees PR, employee communications, corporate communications, media (one of the largest media budgets in the world), sponsorships and advises her CMO partners. Learn how she handles the intersection of her role with AT&T’s marketing team in the latest edition of Inside the Brand.

#TBT to this landmark intellectual property case

Did you know that 32 years ago McDonald’s tried to trademark ‘Mc?’ To no surprise, it didn’t work.

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