Brussels Agency to Clients: Tell Us Who to Fire

So Nice Finds One Way to Get Clients to Pay Their Bills

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Brussels agency So Nice is asking marketers to do their dirty work for them. It sent out an e-mail to 100 clients asking them to choose which of their employees should be made redundant. The e-mail contained a link to the youchoosewefire.be website, where each employee gets to list their strengths and weaknesses in a bid for clemency.

So Nice co-founder Laurent Duffaut said via e-mail, "It's really a cry of frustration about the unjust choice that we have to make. We are not responsible for what's happening to us."

The e-mail has generated a huge amount of interest beyond its original client base. In five days, the site has had 30,000 unique visitors viewing 70,000 profiles and casting 17,500 votes.

"How do we choose?" M. Duffaut continued. "The last to be hired? The person who arrives late in the morning? The action we have put in place is in bad taste -- it's immoral and unjust. This helps people put themselves in the place of a real employee or a real boss who has to take a decision that's immoral and unjust."

So Nice, a 10-person agency, has been put under pressure by clients paying their bills later and later. Mr. Duffaut insisted that self-promotion was not the aim of the original e-mail -- which he described as a "scandalous and provocative way to get a reaction from our clients" -- but admitted that it has been a useful side-effect.

"We may not have to fire someone after all," he said. "Clients have started paying their bills and thanks to this action, a lot of potential new clients have discovered us. We want to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone."

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