We Said Shuttered, But DeCourcy Says No

By Matt Van Hoven 

Yesterday we published two sentences linking to AdWeek’s story about TBWA’s Digital Arts Labs and “its ups and downs”. The headline of our story, “Adweek: TBWA Shutters Digital Arts Lab (For Now)” was based on that story &#151 which said exactly the same thing without ever saying it. But apparently we took a factual leap, according to a tweet from TBWA chief digital officer Colleen DeCourcy.

“Not sure how one justifies the factual leap taken today by Agency Spy,” she writes, “but Digital Arts has not been shuttered. As you were.”


Oh ok, well maybe we can clarify how we came to this conclusion.

Some blurbs from the story (emphasis mine):

-“The downside to the initiative, according to several sources, has been that Digital Arts never found a home within the sprawling TBWA structure. It operated at the worldwide level as part of the Media Arts unit. This led to financial questions when it plugged into local agencies, such as whether the billing for the well-compensated digital artists would come out of a local office’s budget.”

-“Also, according to sources, some offices viewed the digital artists as competitors, not collaborators.”

-“TBWA is now folding its [Digital Arts] talent into the New York office of TBWA\Chiat\Day”

First of all, we’ve taken those out of context so please read the story.

Next, and let me be clear here, someone inside TBWA has made it impossible for us to get through to agency PR and the executives who would otherwise clear up any confusion about what is happening here. One day we had a relationship and the next it was gone, likely due to the flood of negative stories coming out of the shop and landing on this site. But for a long time we always gave the agency an opportunity to respond to accusations &#151 which in a few cases lead to a story getting canned.

Given the circumstances I understand DeCourcy’s comment and want only to alleviate any confusion about how we came to the “shuttered” conclusion. We have tried on more than one occasion to open the lines of communication with TBWA &#151 but here we are. Door’s open guys.