An Army Of Swindlers

Over at the BNET Advertising Blog, Jim Edwards takes a very good look at the recent Leo Burnett/U.S. Army overbilling scandal and others like it:

Perhaps the most worrying part for employees and clients of Burnett, however, is the failure of leadership. When ex-CFO Eric Martinez objected to Burnett keeping a secret account filled with Army overcharges, ex-CEO Linda Wolf fired him.
Note to management: If you have to set up a secret account for anything, you’re probably doing something wrong. And if someone alerts you to such a scheme, it may be inconvenient but they’re actually trying to save you from the fate of Ogilvy CEO Bill Gray, who in the anti-drug trial was forced to testify that although he personally did no wrongdoing, he said “get a fix on it” to Seifert when problems arose on the account. (He also testified that he didn’t understand the contract he had signed, and he was confused by his own agency’s revenue projections. Nice!)

Edwards is doing the kind of sharp reporting and analysis that Adweek and Ad Age should be doing, but aren’t.
And by the way, is it perhaps time they took Leo’s name off the door?



About Dan Goldgeier

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. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.