Blind Items: Press 1 for Sign Language, Please

By Patrick Coffee 

Today in blind items: everyone in the agency world loves to feature international talent…and many also want to throw kickass Super Bowl parties. But sometimes these desires can create problems of their own.

  • We’re all aware of the continuing influx of international advertising talent from Argentina, Brazil and Scandinavia to American agencies (though the latter’s moment may have passed). We hear this trend is becoming a problem for at least one creative department that includes a growing number of staffers who speak only minimal English. These new hires–who may or may not be acquaintances of the person responsible for bringing them on–are beginning to affect their department’s daily operations. It seems one high-ranking executive communicates to other members of his team by using “sign language”: thumbs up means the work is good while a finger across the throat sends it back to the drawing board. We don’t know what this means for the future of the agency in question, but our sources tell us it’s creating some tension in the office…and rumors hold that the teams in question may soon break off to launch their own operation.
  • In other news, one executive at a certain auto-friendly shop threw a big Super Bowl party this year and expensed it to the agency. There’s a problem, though: party attendees did not include any other agency employees or client representatives. We hear that total expenses for the shindig exceeded $3,000 for services including a food truck, entertainers for kids, a full-time bartender, a series of serving pieces, some light decorative touches and–of course–copious amounts of alcohol. In order to keep up appearances, the executive in question didn’t tell guests that his/her employer would be fronting the bill, though have to assume that someone received a stern talking-to when the request went through.
  • One agency recently downsized and made a geographic change that may or may not have been primarily for tax purposes. Quite a few tipsters emailed us expressing their displeasure with bosses for expanding after laying a bunch of people off, and one of two remaining executive creative directors in its home office also resigned this week…or got fired. We’ve received varied explanations for his departure, but he may go to another digital agency in the area that has been hemorrhaging talent as it attempts to reassert its place within a global network.
  • A veteran of several prominent agency creative departments recently moved from a role at a certain privacy-focused tech giant to an even more unusual place…the world of fashion. This particular line of clothing didn’t fit so well, though: the executive in question has already moved on after approximately nine months.