Hey Look, We Can Kick A Man While He’s Down And Get Away With It.

Friend of AdPulp, Steffan Postaer, was ousted from his high profile job at EuroRSCG/Chicago last week. Dan Goldgeier sent me a note about it and a link to the Agency Spy post. I read through some of the horrendous comments–the first of which is titled “Nice Altoids, Asshole”–and basically shrugged.
Since when does a guy who makes ads for a living deserve to be dressed down by anonymous detractors in a public forum? Ad guys are not law makers or leaders in the community. Sure, there are times when we attack “the work” in these pages, but what’s to be gained by attacking the people who make the work? Very little, IMO.
At any rate, Postaer’s pondering the situation, as anyone would. Here’s a clip from a new post on his Gods of Advertising site:

To do our job, one needs to be versed in the good, the bad and the ugly of the Internet. And that includes vitriolic blogs. When I left my job last week the trade tabloid, Agency Spy posted about it. As of this writing it has engendered over 60 comments, which I have not read. Needless to say, I’m guessing they are not voting me into the Advertising Hall of Fame. Sometimes being part of the so-called conversation means getting your ass handed to you.

As I reflect on this situation once more, it’s clear that what’s different today isn’t the bitching and back-biting. That’s always been there. What’s different is the archival nature of it in the digital repository. When you speak poorly of someone, as bad as that is, it goes away eventually, dispersed by the air and time. But when you type the bitch session up and feed it to the machine, it’s there for good. Postaer may have chosen to NOT read the comments, but that’s not going to prevent anyone else from doing so.
Bottom line, you have to proactively manage your business reputation, offline and online. If you can’t make the bad stuff go away you have to drown the bad stuff out with your own good stuff. Which is exhausting, especially when you have a big job to do, like helping to run a company or a department.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.