Brendan Ryan Slams 'Rumors' and Flicks Middle Finger From Stage

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DANA POINT, Calif. (AdAge.com) -- In a colorful and bluntly spoken outgoing address as
Photo: Doug Goodman
FCB CEO tells crowd of 'what pisses me off.'
board chairman, Brendan Ryan told the American Association of Advertising Agencies that people in the business need to have more self-respect.

Mr. Ryan, CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, expressed concern that the general public doesn't respect the industry "as much as they should."

Clients also don't place enough value on what they get from their ad agencies, he said, pointing to a number of factors, including pressures on publicly held agencies to produce short-term earnings, client pressures for results and reduced agency compensation.

'My ass'
Mr. Ryan particularly was chagrined about the pitch process in which agencies give away their ideas for what he called a "tip of $5,000 to cover our costs," he said, adding, "My ass."

Read full conference coverage on AdAge.com.

His biggest concern, he said, "is I'm not sure we all treat each other with the respect that we deserve."

Recently, Mr. Ryan said an anonymous high-level agency official apparently pointed a finger at FCB, along with a number of agencies, as having some involvement with the federal investigation of New York printing house ColorWheel. It wasn't true, he said of the allegation, but he was annoyed that someone with credibility in the business apparently had spread the rumor, something that "pisses me off," he said.

Flicks middle finger
At another point in the talk, the gesticulating Mr. Ryan acknowledged his agency's need for new business, but in referencing a publication's report on the situation, he flicked his middle finger and then used his index finger to make a slashing gesture across his throat.

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