Whilst many were quick to point out the negatives today (eConsultancy, NMA, The Wall) on the day that the somewhat cringe inducing Idea Engineers video was posted by SapientNitro, few were looking closer at ourselves as a community of ‘agency types’.
As a global agency, Sapient have enviable scale and diversity. A small group of Asian (my ignorance assumes they were Indian) staff decided they’d have a bit of lighthearted fun and project their image of life at Sapient to the world. The only crime they committed (aside from perhaps a touch of chauvinism) in their well-intentioned endeavour, was to be a little geeky and dated for our Western European tastes.
Personally, I thought it was unedifying to see people wade in to stick the boot in to the idea and then revel in the panic by, let’s assume a junior staff member, when posts were deleted from Facebook. Previously the comments from fellow Indian colleagues were uniformly positive. We inward-facing Soho and Shoreditch agencies were gleeful in our response:’Look! silly Sapient don’t get social media’.
But they probably do. Someone in charge of their Facebook account just made a mistake this time and by the time the momentum had built up, the shutters came down and they deleted it. Before we analyse what they should have done in response, let’s remember that this is an increasingly-mature, highly skilled agency. They have a client roster that’s undeniably impressive and 19 significant awards in 2011 alone. Many of us will have lost pitches against SapientNitro and, in today’s responses our bitterness at their success was definitely showing.
Sure, let’s spend a little time talking about the right way to deal with this kind of communications fuck up, that’s right and healthy (and it will vary for each brand and each time it happens) but let’s be honest, this is nothing more than a transient blip and to suggest it’s indicative of a fundamental failing of a hugely successful agency is the mistake of today.