Blind Items: Is This Motherf*cking Thing Still On??

By Patrick Coffee 

Today in Blind Items, we examine the challenges of communicating with other people in the real world. It can be quite difficult!

  • Talking smack about clients: every agency does it. Surely you’ve fantasized about telling a stereotypically uptight marketing rep what you really think of him. Chances are pretty good that you’ve even participated in one of those conference calls involving everybody on the account team where you press “mute” on your end while the clients talk and proceed to tell everyone else in the room what a bunch of idiots they all are.
    According to some sources who spoke to us, this recently happened to a major agency. The team was talking amongst themselves while waiting to join an international call under the assumption that this client’s head of global marketing could not hear or see them.
    There was a problem, though: while the video was off, the audio was very much on. And when the client joined the call, he or she was greeted by some all-too-frank opinions on the other end of the line from a bunch of dudes who thought they were in a safe space. The one-way exchange involved many f-words and s-words and perhaps even an f—ing c-word.
    Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go over too well. The agency later lost major portions of what was its parent company’s largest single account.
  • Speaking of sexist behavior at agencies in 2017, one male creative leader at another big shop isn’t super comfortable with members of the opposite sex. Now, this guy is from another continent, which is TOTALLY a legitimate excuse. It may also explain his fondness for drinking throughout the day while ostensibly doing his job.
    Multiple female employees, however, recently filed official HR complaints against him for being a general chauvinist jackass.
    What does that mean? When working on a campaign to promote an unnamed luxury brand, this guy allegedly suggested that the team stage a reality-TV style scenario in which a man “beats up his girlfriend” while he waits to see whether a second man will intervene or “be a pussy.”
    He also reportedly declines to interact directly with female junior creatives and, in an unrelated incident, asked whether the agency could hire some black actors to play “thugs” and stage a robbery for a brand activation.
    As noted before, more than one person in the creative department filed complaints against him, and several of the women who worked under him have left the agency in recent months, some of their own accord and some not. But HR did get the message: they scheduled a one-hour sensitivity training seminar for everyone in the office, and all was well in the world again. The male creative later got promoted.