Possibly the most viewed thread of posts at the Daily (Ad) Biz have been those about Kansas City-based interactive agency VML. It all started with a compliment about the nicely designed Snapple website (which, as an aside, leads me to believe that I ought to be more positive in ad reviews) before things quickly went downhill, resulting in a passionate slanging match in the comments section of this post.
At first, impressed by the vehemence of the anti-VML comments, this impartial observer was swayed. After all, the comments referred solid dollar values and specific projects and there were a lot of them. Something was going on.
But then the counter-comments came in.
The plain fact is that the “anonymity” of the internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it makes it easy for the real story about and agency or a company to bubble to the surface because people are able to say what is really on their mind without worries about repercussions. That is undeniably a good thing. On the other hand, what’s to stop someone who is disgruntled for any number of reasons to post things that are nothing more than mud-slinging?
Though the specificity of the comments about VML do lead the reader to believe that something has gone wrong over there, at least on a project or two, the pro-VML comments did help to balance the verdict.
The comments about Fallon, while scathing, did come from people who obviously had a lot of heart for the agency. They wanted it to get back to the glory days, they believed in what it was and, though they were calling out some people by name, seemed to think that the glory could be restored.
The comments about Zimmerman were just plain scathing. And that said a lot about the agency as a place to work at and as a place to do business with.
VML seems to be closer to Fallon than to Zimmerman (in terms only of employees or ex-employees willing to speak positively about the agency), though even with that it’s hard to say what’s really going in Kansas City. I would love to know…