From Terminated To Terminator

Every now and then, we post some news or item about an ad agency that leads to some very personal and controversial comments. And other blogs do, too. HighJive at MultiCultClassics has some very interesting thoughts on the way blogs sometimes cover agencies, particularly when it comes to employee or ex-employee gossip and crosstalk:

The terminated are becoming the terminators. They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take this anymore. So they’re going postal with posts, broadcasting the dysfunctional, irresponsible and allegedly criminal transgressions of former bosses. Why, there’s more dirty laundry than a Tide with Bleach convention.
The bombed agencies probably have themselves to blame for the mean-spirited mudslinging. Incompetent leaders ultimately rally armies of enemies. Plus, as industry-wide downsizing continues, layoffs are bungled with increased insensitivity. Axed employees grudgingly sign separation agreements and collect minimal severances, seething to see senior honchos still enjoying the traditional perks.
Blogs like Agency Spy and Adrants routinely feature threads packed with personal attacks and angry exposés. AdScam has essentially become a menagerie of canned IPG staffers ready to rip the inept company’s management 24/7.
There’s a lesson to be learned, although it’s unlikely the offending agencies will catch on. Hence, here’s the idiot-proof lowdown. If you shit on your workers, expect to get excrement tossed back in your direction. And if you don’t want your ignorant, immoral and illegal acts published on the World Wide Web, well, stop committing ignorant, immoral and illegal acts.

Yes, sometimes it isn’t pleasant, and sometimes it’s not always clear what the truth is. But I suppose that’s the new transparency for you. Agencies who spout off about brands using the web to have an ersatz “two-way dialogue” with consumers need to wake up and realize that yes, they are brands too, and the dialogue about the agency itself is fair game. If Bob Garfield can call out Comcast, an agency ex-employee can call out their former employer. Or at least try, ’til everyone gets lawyered up.
What do y’all think?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. It’s going to take quite a bit more than online gripe sessions to reform those who engage in corporate bullshit. Although, it’s a start.
    One other thought, if the offended party were to use their real name (as rare as that is), then there’s a public record of the badmouthing, which could come back to haunt them while seeking other employment.

  2. The thing that really contributes to the problem is that getting fired carries such an enormous stigma. In lieu of having other significant cultural mechanisms for obtaining status and personal value, it might not be such a frightfully devastating thing for people if everybody understood that it happens to the best of us.

  3. I don’t think the firing stigma, while real, is less an issue as being to just have a place for current and former employees to vent about those places. George Parker is living that dream as we speak.

  4. meant, “…is as important an issue…”

  5. Truth be told, odds are people have always bad mouthed employers who have canned them unjustly or not. I don’t think it’s a sudden surge of people saying “Wait a minute, this getting fired for no good reason is wrong!!!!”. I just think blogging is a more massive way of letting as many people know about the proverbial bullshit they have to live than just telling 40 of their closest friends. Yes there is a blog epidemic and yes there are a lot of people throwing written bitchfits mainly because we can now do so. As for coming out and saying, hey I’m so and so, and this company fired me wrongly, you just can’t do that because you’re pretty much guaranteeing you’ll never get a job in advertising ever again. Some people have taken the risk but it’s not the majority for a reason. Now, that a company expects that people won’t go down without a fight? ha ha ha….. This merits a post of itself of reactions of people when they get fired. Some people might just bitch, others might blog and others might take even greater steps to give it back to the man.