Blind Items: The Velvet Hammer Awards Walk Softly

By Patrick Coffee 

Today in blind items: awards…what are they good for? The answer is definitely not “absolutely nothing,” no matter what Amir Kassaei says.

  • As much crap as our readers talk about awards shows, every agency submits work to them. Some shops even develop their own in-house accolades for creating the best pitches or having the coolest desktop arrangement or, we don’t know, always cleaning up after oneself in the kitchen. One auto-friendly West Coast agency recently came up with an award called “The Velvet Hammer” for “special achievements” to be determined by bosses. To figure out why that sweet idea made this blind items roundup, consider the definitions offered by our go-to source, Urban Dictionary. Pretty sure they were going for “a scheme wherein your customer gets his customers or suppliers to pay for the product you are selling” rather than a professional woman who GETS SHIT DONE or the first interpretation, which is most popular by far among the sort of dicks who read Urban Dictionary. Frankly, none of the options make a whole hell of a lot of sense.
  • Another agency’s North American operations got a new chief creative officer about a year ago, but this leader’s attempts to shake up a less-than-fresh creative department are running into some challenges. A now-former staffer tells us that those whose titles start with Es and Cs “stifle any and all creativity,” which might be why all of the global network’s recent awards show wins have gone to its overseas offices. In response, the chief has told creatives that they must focus on winning awards above all else except new business. But the real pressure comes from above as North American executives travel to various international conferences empty-handed while their peers in Europe and South America score gold on the beaches of France and elsewhere.
  • We hear that a certain tech-focused agency, which has found its way onto this blog several times despite never ever responding to our emails, is in greater mortal danger than Little Marco Rubio’s political career. A recent round of layoffs all but eliminated its creative, production and new business teams, and we hear that the shop’s creative lead stepped down either this week or last. Multiple sources claim that the business has officially moved into bankruptcy proceedings after losing most of its clients, but we don’t expect to get confirmation on that anytime soon. At least the website is still live.
  • Another agency, which is more likely to get mentioned at The Shorty Awards or the Mashies than the ADDYs or the Clios, has always taken pride in its own efficiency…meaning it does things on a shoestring budget. The whole “startup mentality” thing sounds cool, but it translates to a lack of proper desks for many staffers, a tendency to not pay freelancers on time because who gives a shit, and even an insistence that employees use their own phones for work calls because land lines were over in, like, 2007. We can see why we never hear about award-winning creatives going to work for this company.