Man, starting up this new agency is a killer

McBride massacre video makes rounds; some say it's not just child's play

By Published on .

acuneo@crain.com

Call it Chucky's Revenge.

The video is shot from the point of view of someone walking in on a massacre at the offices of TBWA/Chiat/Day. The camera reveals bloody bodies strewn across floors, desks and drafting tables. Then it reaches the agency's North American creative director, Chuck McBride, seated at a computer wielding a bloody murder weapon-a Clio. As he exhales cigarette smoke, the Fifth Dimension's "Up, Up and Away" swells, and he says, "Relax. Everything's going to be OK."

On some fronts, things are, in fact, OK. As the video made by the North American creative director now negotiating a breakaway from the agency makes the rounds, some report a resolution is close. On the table is a plan to rebrand the San Francisco TBWA office, with the new shop bringing along marketers Luxottica Group's Ray-Ban and Seagate Technology.

For TBWA, that would keep Mr. McBride in the network and give the agency a place for marketers with conflicts at the main agency. But one executive familiar with the discussions said Mr. McBride was not happy with TBWA's package and sought a higher percentage of ownership. The start-up also is looking at self-funding or seeking other investors to back the venture.

Meanwhile, the massacre film, with more than 7,000 hits on AdAge.com, both delighted and bewildered those who viewed it-but it didn't draw so much as a comment from TBWA.

"I enjoyed Chuck's video," said Hal Curtis, a Wieden & Kennedy creative director who's considering joining the new shop (he's a former partner of Mr. McBride).

"Clearly, Chuck has one of the best reels in the business," said Russel Wohlwerth, partners, A-Team Advertising Advisors.

But some thought it was in poor taste. "He's starting a business-doesn't he want clients?" asked one West Coast creative who has worked with Mr. McBride. Said another: "It's probably not a real business builder, but it's fun to watch."

At least one industry executive, pointing out Mr. McBride's reputation as somewhat of a prima donna who has wrangled with clients, interpreted the video as "throwing a tantrum on a very public stage."

"Chuck needs to be managed," the executive said. "He scares me."

For his part, Mr. McBride isn't even owning up to the video. "On the record, that is not me-I did not make that video," he said. "Wow, what a resemblance. Who did that? I was away on business. The timing of it is f--ing amazing."
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