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Clients ‘guilty by association’ with scam, says former creative director

Darren WoolleyMarketers that allow their agencies to do scam advertising – work designed purely to win awards – could be deemed guilty by association, a client-agency relationship consultant and former creative director has said.

In an opinion piece on Mumbrella, Darren Woolley, MD of TrinityP3 and the former creative director of JWT Sydney, suggested that marketers should openly condemn their agencies if they are caught scamming at awards shows – otherwise risk damaging their own reputations as well as their brands.

“The reason being is that the agency has taken advantage of your brand and brand reputation for the purposes of self-advancement,” he said.

If clients let them off, they could be seen “as condoning this by one of your suppliers, with the implication being that you are perhaps complicit,” he wrote in the article.

Woolley also suggested that agencies that use brands to enter awards without a client’s permission could be prosecuted for intellectual property theft.

The client has “recourse to prosecute them to the full extent of the law” for breaching copyright, “with damages to your brand reputation possibly leading to significant compensation,” Woolley said.

In conclusion, Woolley wrote that while there maybe some who do not understand the “fuss” over scam, having the brand or business “dragged into this is a risk no advertiser can afford to take,” he said.

“Sure, you can dismiss this by believing it is only minor and not important. Or even justify it on the basis that everyone does it. But who has the most to lose?” Woolley proposed.

“In actual fact it is the marketers who do nothing that put the most at risk for themselves and their brand integrity,” he said.

Woolley’s comments come the week after the marketing director of Guinness in Singapore backed his agency, BBDO, after it won three Silver Lions for a campaign that only ran once in a local listings magazine.

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