The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Freedom Of Speech Is One Thing, Freedom Of Judgement Is Quite Another …
February 26, 2008, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Comment

This is quite a hard post for me to write because it revolves around a tragic event – namely the suicide of DDB Chicago Creative Director, Paul Tilley.

I didn’t know the man but by all accounts he was a well liked, talented individual and for what it’s worth, my thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues. 

However as tragic as this is – and it truly is – this post is not to muse over the events that may or may not have contributed to Paul’s terrible decision, it is to say how disgusted I am that certain individuals in the industry have decided to point the finger of blame in the direction of Adscam and Agency Spy because in the past, they’ve both been critical of the work Paul and his agency produced.

Death is never easy to accept – and it is even harder when it happens by the persons own hand – however blaming people who were simply critical of that individual is one of the most hurtful things you could ever do. 

Look, I understand how people want to blame someone when something like this happens and I understand how they want to protect the name of their family/friend/colleagues and I certainly understand how priorities and attitudes in life get completely refocused … but some of the comments being thrown around are outrageous and need to be reeled in before even more hurt and damage is caused. 

The ad industry is a bitter and twisted one. It would be wonderful if that changed however it’s been like that since day one – which is why for most people who have been in it for a period of time, they develop a thicker skin towards criticism. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect them – no one likes being ridiculed – but it is something that is given and received with such frequency that its potency is severely diluted. 

Did AdScam and Agency Spy sometimes cross the line? 


Did AdScam and Agency Spy get personal? 

Quite possibly! 

However to blame them for what happened is both crediting them with far more influence than they could ever hope to have as well as demonstrating a complete lack of understanding regarding the issues and complexities that someone who takes this decision is going through at the time. 

As I said I didn’t know Paul and I am very sorry for what has happened, however his decision had nothing to do with the comments made by Adscam and Agency Spy and anyone who says otherwise is guilty of grief, ignorance or hypocrisy.


5 Comments so far
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i find it fucking astounding that there are fingers being pointed in this way throughout the advertising fraternity (if you can call it that, based on this and other behaviour). in 2006, the australian art scene lost 2 contemporary artists to suicide – one well established, one emerging and both having had varying amount of acclaim, success and criticism over the years by a variety of writers. at no point did anyone even consider that the actions of another contributed to their suicide. we all understood that suicide is an intensely personal, complex and debilitating mental health issue.

would adscam and agency spy have been equally rewarded if paul had decided to propose to his partner in paris instead?

Comment by lauren

Nicely written Robert, well said Lauren.

Comment by George

Yes, that pretty much covers everything that needs to be said.

Comment by Marcus

People need scapegoats, whether its Marilyn Manson for the Columbine shootings, assorted rappers for street gun crime, video games for school shootings, or ad blogs for this suicide. But blaming other people in this way doesn’t solve anything, and it most certainly isn’t logical.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

nicely stated

Yes, words can really hurt. But for others to point fingers in the heat of emotion is certainly not helpful to anyone right now… only hurtful. There’s already enough hurt.

Comment by Dave Wilcox

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