WPP Pulls French From Panel

Ad Age: Controversial creative Neil French was the most talked-about speaker on the first day of Asian regional advertising conference AdAsia — even though his appearance was abruptly canceled at WPP Group’s insistence.
More than 1,000 delegates are attending the Nov. 21-23 AdAsia conference in Singapore, and many were eager to hear Mr. French, who created a worldwide furor at a talk in Canada when he called women creatives “crap” and said they don’t work hard enough to be successful because of the time they spend raising children.
Mr. French’s non-appearance was the lead story in a local trade publication’s AdAsia show daily, which quoted an e-mail from a WPP executive to AdAsia organizers apologizing “that you are in this situation, but I do not think we can change our position on Neil.”
In Asia, where Mr. French has spent much of his career based in Singapore, not everyone understands what the fuss is about. At a private dinner on Monday night, one Australian creative said Mr. French is simply “cheeky” and had a good record on encouraging and promoting women. Another creative said, “You have to look at [his remarks] through a cultural filter. In Singapore, it’s still legal to beat your wife.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. I’ve had a career; I’ve still got a career. I’m not worried about it, but the sad thing is allowing a bunch of students and unemployed people sitting in their little tiny rooms to have a go at somebody.
    Neil, you forgot that we all wear jammies when we blog from our hovels.

  2. And he forgot that Nancy Vonk was neither a student or an unemployed person sitting in her little tiny room. She was a fellow WPP employee. Still is, too.

  3. someone needs to inform mr. french that HE’S the unemployed person at this point. paranoid too. as if everyone plotted the fall of neil french. yeah, right. and i’m currently scheming to smear rosser reeves and claude hopkins. please.