There is something deliciously Gawker-esque about a gossip site like Agency Spy…it’s a chance to voyeuristically watch the dirty laundry of other agencies aired out publicly while laughing at their misfortune. It’s schadenfreude in binary code. It’s a whole lot of fun right up until your agency is the one under the microscope.
Being a Minneapolitan, I take great interest in the agencies in town so my interest was piqued when I saw two posts yesterday about Carmichael Lynch.
I was disappointed to see that the posts were about the possible loss of the Harley-Davidson account…apparently, someone took seriously the same, years-old rumors about the business. Rumors like that dog any agency with a desirable legacy client, but they’re not news.
I was even more disappointed when a certain personal relation at the agency contacted me to ask if it was true…and if he should be worried about his job.
Before you’re confronted with the personal reality of a real person worried about job security because of something they read on a gossip site online, it just doesn’t seem real. Posts based on anonymous, unverifiable tips seem reasonable and harmless. The whole thing seems like a joke.
Even, sometimes, it seems like fodder for a third post (must be a slow news day).
Based on my experience receiving these anonymous tips, the news in today’s “Carmichael is Shi-Tay” post comes from one of those…there is just enough that I have been able to verify as correct (Marcus Fischer wasn’t promoted and is now at Space150) mixed with just enough that I can verify as incorrect (Carmichael Lynch Spong has Sherwin-Williams for PR, and that part of the account isn’t in review) to lead me to believe that the tipster is not exactly a recent Carmichael Lynch employee…though that doesn’t stop them from being disgruntled.
Of course, who am I to disdain the disgruntled or to look askance at bloggers who might run a story on an anonymous tip?
That said, never before had I realized just how far-reaching and strangely important blogs had become, at least in tightly-focused-on-itself agency world. Never before had I realized just how much stock real people put into posts by bloggers like me (well, better than me) who were just doing this on our own, sitting at a computer and writing about advertising.
I don’t know what the real situation is at Carmichael Lynch, though I would take the Harley “news” with a hefty grain of salt, but I do know that one angry employee with an axe to grind can have an outsized, internet-spread, fear/anger/sadness-inducing impact on a lot good people who are just trying to do their job and get along…including people you (and I) may know.
Laughing at the misfortune of another agency suddenly got a whole lot less fun.