AUCKLAND, Today: Relationships between M+AD Daily and Colenso BBDO have disintegrated amid allegations of leaks, favouritism and harassment.
It started with a story Colenso sent Monday to Australia’s Campaign Brief (whose owner ‘Lynchy’ has long enjoyed a special relationship with the NZ agency) about the return of Simon Vicars. This was a press release – with M+AD apparently no longer on The List. (Why? We’ll get to that shortly.)
On Tuesday morning, M+AD emailed Colenso PR boss Joe Carter – our usually helpful point of contact – asking about the omission.
No response. Four messages later (cell/landline/email) – and after 24 hours, still nothing. So we copied MD Scott Coldham.
“No off-the-record phone calls – pse give answers in writing.”
That brought an immediate response. And it was terse. Here’s how that full email exchange went …
- M+AD: “Joe has not answered his cell or Colenso number for 24 hours. Has he left the company? Who is his replacement? Something not right here. I can’t contact anybody at Colenso – not just Joe! I sense a news story. Strongly suggest somebody puts us in the picture:
- Scott Coldham (by email): “David I will call you shortly. Please stop harassing Joe.”
- Ed David Gapes: Harassing? He’s a PR guy who doesn’t return calls from a bona fide journalist. Pse don’t phone me – let’s get everything in writing.
- Coldham: “I’m not conversing over email. I’ll have a conversation with you first and foremost, and we can go from there. If you’re not prepared to take my call, so be it.”
- Gapes: Sorry, Scott. I don’t want off-the-record phone calls. Pse give me answers in writing – only stuff we can publish. If you can convince me I’ve got it wrong, I’ll cease and withdraw.
Rather provocative on M+AD’s part, true – but in the post-Covid environment, not an unreasonable request.
But no redblooded MD worth their salt would put up with that sort of crap from a nosy reporter. So, since then the wires have predictably fallen silent.
Ultimately, though, we can only put Colenso’s pugnacious silence down to the story they leaked to Campaign Brief Australia a few weeks back, about the redundancies meted out to ECD Steve Cochran and CD/head of art Mike Davison – and at least 12 others.
M+AD re-ran the CB story (with a link), a move which saw its daily readership numbers double, but clearly troubled Colenso – especially when the anonymous, caustic web postings started popping up.
When M+AD followed up with inquiries to all agencies, it also triggered a min-avalanche of redundancy stories (only in M+AD – Campaign Brief stayed away), and web postings, which tended to portray Colenso in a poor light.
Nobody likes this stuff, but it needs to be reported.
Gapes: “I guess M+AD’s future coverage of events at Colenso will now have to get by on rumour and anonymous tip-offs.” (To firstname.lastname@example.org please).
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