I was surprised when I read Wednesday's headline, "Andrew Keller Out at CP&B."
I was even more disturbed by the tenor of his colleagues quoted in other publications. In fact, there were enough borderline offensive things said by agency execs that I felt compelled to write this. In light of Andrew's amazing 17 year run, I'd like to offer up the advertising industry's unofficial response:
Thank you, Andrew.
Thanks for helping build a place voted Agency of the Year 13 times and Agency of the Decade.
Thanks for overseeing work like "Subservient Chicken," "Whopper Freakout," "Mini," "Truth," "Dominoes Turnaround," "Coke Zero's Lawyers," "Small Business Saturday," and countless other famous ideas that infiltrated pop culture.
Thanks for radically changing the shape of the work ad agencies were putting into the world, and giving us all back our swagger when other creative businesses were crumbling around us and experts were predicting the death of our entire industry.
Thanks for making every creative person in the industry jealous enough to stay later and dig deeper just to beat the shit out of you guys.
Thanks for sticking with your agency when Alex left, when you were so hot that you could have gone to any other job at any other company in any other industry, but instead stayed true to your heart and true to your people and carried the place for another five years.
Thanks for showing the industry that a creative can be a great CEO, and for teaching the creative community that we have been doing ourselves a disservice for decades pretending like it's uncool to understand the business side of the business.
Thanks for reminding us time after time, year after year, that what matters most in this industry is the culture you build, and the work you create.
Maybe this is what the agency leaders meant to say. Maybe it's not. I won't pretend to know. In fact, I don't know Andrew that well. But I do know the influence he has had on the industry and the creative community. I do know that any creative leader who has helped mold the shape of modern advertising; who has led his global agency as CEO; who has won every award known to man; who has fed countless great young creatives out into this and other industries; and has inspired so many of us for 17 years deserves a lot better than that.
This was, is and always will be a creatively driven business. If we ever forget this, or forget the contributions of our most influential creative leaders, our industry will be gone in 10 years -- swallowed up by other creative industries who put a greater value on the people who are dreaming up the magic and pushing things forward.