GSD&M Dramz: Roy Spence Likes to Stiff Arm Mark Taylor

By Matt Van Hoven 

For a few months now we’ve been receiving tips from various sources that all point to the same agency and the same issue. The shop is Austin based GSD&M Idea City, and the conflict is between CEO Roy Spence and ECD Mark Taylor. We’re told that the two don’t see eye to eye on creative &#151 adding more drama to an agency that in our experience has been a tractor beam of dirt, scandal and the kind of sordid tales that make this industry so damn entertaining.

Here’s what our spies have to say:

Code Name MineSweeper:

“I’ve heard there’s been a bad falling out between Roy Spence and Mark Taylor recently over some creative issues on the Popeye’s account. Bad enough that Roy kicked Mark off of a big BMW pow-wow in Munich.

A little more to the Mark Taylor story:
It doesn’t seem like he’s working on much, at least not directly. At this year’s Austin ADDYs, GSD&M didn’t fare so well. They entered four or five times the number of pieces as any other shop, but came in second in the gold medal count. Mark Taylor’s name appeared in the credits of only two award-winners, and those were only bronze medals.

Cut to the Popeyes’ account, on which Taylor is supposed to be the creative lead. But recently one of the agency’s founders called a former GSD&M creative director out of retirement to submit some concepts for the account, apparently without Taylor’s approval. The retired guy is known mostly as a jingle writer, which probably doesn’t sit well with a lot of the younger creatives. To make matters worse, the client likes the new guy’s work better than the work coming from Taylor and his teams. Some unkind things may have been said on both sides as a result.

Maybe it’s a good thing that Taylor never moved his family here.”

Codename Solitaire:

“Big agency pep-rally held monday &#151 all department heads gave updates in-person…Mark Taylor nowhere in sight/never mentioned…seemed odd to all.

Yesterday was the big HOME DEPOT presentation with a 750mm account in play it was one of the most important pitches in GSD&M’s History&#151and guess who was the Executive Creative Director? Roy ‘I cant keep my ego in check’ Spence. Roy is growing tired or Mark Taylor and his sloppy, mumbly presentation style and has taken him off the project &#151 Mr. Taylor did not even fly to Atlanta with the rest of the team.

Mark Taylor has also been asked (by the client) off of the signature Southwest airlines account as well &#151 seems the clients were not buying his Crispin-style irreverence…”

Again, Solitaire:

“Apparently, the SWA client is not happy with CD’s Derek Pletch and Scott MacGregor (known internally as the “idea&#151stealers”) …clients have requested those two hacks off the business and old CD’s Brent Ladd & Steve Miller be returned to their post &#151 this will be very difficult now that Steve Miller has been pushed out do to a creative run-in with ECD Mark Taylor during the Compass Bank pitch.

Taylor has grown exceptionally tired of dealing with the old-guard GCD’s, and he’s slowly realizing the feeling is mutual. Taylor enlisted the help of Maryanne Malina to aid him in persuading Steve Miller to exit stage left &#151 she was eager to jump in and help &#151 there was no love lost between her and Mr. Miller &#151 they have had several run-in’s in the past, her lack of integrity being cited as the main cause.

Yet another big mess created by Ms. Malina, AKA Roy’s “chosen one”. When will Roy wise up??”

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