Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Tuesday Tip No.64 - Be A Person Of Integrity


Have you heard the rumour that Dave Trott got his first job in advertising with a book of ads he didn't write?

The story was that he used American ads he knew UK creative directors wouldn't be aware of, and re-presented them as if they were his own.

Amazingly, Dave has now confessed on his blog that this story is true.

So the man who wrote the pamphlet on How To Get A Job In Advertising, the pamphlet that was recently re-printed by Campaign, the pamphlet that hundreds of creatives have used as a guide to writing good ads, didn't do it that way. He did it a different way. He stole someone else's ads.

Now, we're Creatives, and we're supposed to be 'creative' and break the rules. But this isn't cool.

I'm not going to write a post that explains why you shouldn't lie and you shouldn't steal. What next? Why you shouldn't rape a receptionist?

All I'll say is that even if you're completely lacking in moral principles - the Patrick Bateman of advertising - it would still make sense to follow common-sense morality.

Why? Because when people find out you've lied or cheated, they get pissed as hell.

I've seen a senior team, hired on approx £75K, get fired for pretending the work in their book was joint work, when it was mostly done with other partners.

I know of Creatives who have been asked to leave agencies because of petty pilfering.

If you're utterly brilliant (e.g. Dave Trott) you can probably get away with this kind of thing. But 99% can't.

So my advice is to be a person of integrity.

And if you're not, act like one.

Previous Tips

80 comments:

Catcher In The Rye said...

I am glad you posted this Scamp.

While Dave Trott would have made it to the top, even if he didn't pinch someone's work...his justification is horrible.

Anonymous said...

Despite this... his blog rocks! Please don't condemn him, his stories and openness are enthralling. What's next?

]-[appy Thought said...

Wait, you can't rape receptionists?

I jest of course. I was involved in that "chat" over on Trotty's bLog and while I don't agree with piking work from anywhere (especially YouTube!) I found it interesting that he said he wouldn't be annoyed if someone else tried this on him if they then "justified" their placement by doing good work once in the agency. So at least he maintains a kind of integrity with a one size fits all approach?

However, judging from Campaign any work theft cheeky chappies better know who Mr. BernBach is!

Anonymous said...

It's about his boss not having confidence in him - and later - his judgement. imagine the crap ads we would have had if he didn't lie.

if you know your great, lie. if you get found out. tough shit.

Anonymous said...

If you have to pinch work, don't be a fucking creative.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that whenever Dave Trott writes anything he always has to quote somebody else. Maybe he can reply to this explaining why with a quote from somebody else?

Anonymous said...

if you want to be a "person of integrity" get a job with integrity

scamp, the idea that you think you have integrity is depressing. read your own blog.

george w bush thinks he's going to heaven

you need to wake up mate

dave trott's done more for kids in this business that you.

suck your cheeks in and pretend your jesus. is that your next tip?

Luke and Wilf said...

As students, its nice to think that not everyone is corrupt....

but from this comment section, you can sure tell they are bitter..

I think some things are ok to borrow, but when its comes to ads that go into the public domain, it would be nice if it was more original.

Anonymous said...

Re: 11.43 different jobs have different standards of integrity.

Politicians get the sack for having affairs, Musicians don't.

Question is what is the standard in advertising? I don't know. But I'm fairly sure that presenting an entire book of ads that aren't yours falls below it.

Anonymous said...

12.15am - I don't think it was a whole book of ads, because that's obviously not cool, but read the blog:

"I put some roughs in my book that I’d pinched from New York.
They were done by one of the guys I’d worked with there.
I knew he was never going to come to London.
So I didn’t think it would be a problem."

And as he says, it was just to get a foot in the door. If you prove yourself to be good at your job once you're in that's all that matters.

And as for he integrity side, it doesn't really hurt anyone. I can understand Webster getting upset, but still, it's out-thinking your competition.

And what CD is going to turn that down?

Anonymous said...

Scamp, I really like your moral stance on Dave's blog. It is such a cliche that everyone in advertising has to sell their soul.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... Whatever... 11:43 is right.

Anonymous said...

What pisses me off is creatives who think they don't steal ideas.

Unsanctimonious pooface said...

Hey we work in advertising. We pimp what little talent we have to the highest bidder in order to make people buy stuff they neither want nor need. This is no industry to be a sanctimonious pooface in.

Anonymous said...

i bet his kids are proud of him.

barry said...

Anyone should understand the moral implications behind what Dave did. We should appreciate his honesty.

Anonymous said...

To all the people that compare what Dave did to stealing ideas or ripping off a YouTube film - it's not the same. It's much worse than that. He stole someone else's finished ADS and passed them off as his own.

In other words, it's not like an architect being inspired by someone else's design. It's like an architect pointing to someone else's building and saying "yeah, I did that".

Anonymous said...

Yes, but i'm sure the young Dave could have written all the American ads, he just could not be arsed. It was less time consuming to simply borrow them to get his foot in the door, then was the time to unleash his own power on the world.

Anonymous said...

I think it's pretty pathetic that anyone thinks this is ok. Can't you come up with you own ideas? And shouldn't you take pride in your own work? Lame.

Anonymous said...

9.46 - I'm sure I could earn enough cash pretty soon to get a Bentley but I can't be arsed. Okay to steal someone else's?

Anonymous said...

Maybe all the good ads he did were pinched too? If you look at his current crop with all that Alan Sugar and Sacla shite, it looks plausible.

Anonymous said...

Where's the sense of achievement? It seems being held up as 'famous' or working at a 'Hot Shop' is more important to some than the actual thrill of cracking an idea, producing the ad and seeing it out there.

All this crap about advertising's just advertising, who cares? The person themselves should, otherwise what's the point, everyone in any profession has the chance to screw other people over, we're not special. It's wrong, it's no different from someone conning you when you buy a car - he's outsmarted you, does that make it right?

Always agreed with the saying 'When you see a great idea a little part of you dies' - now it seems I can just claim it, potter off to another country and reap the rewards.

The Guy Above said...

Regardless of anything - I do think that there was integrity in David Trott telling the truth on his blog that he lied - and I do think there is a hypocrisy (and lack of integrity) in that he wrote a book on how to get into advertising and didn't do it that way - for me that was the crux of scamps point.

Healthycreative said...

Scamp is totally correct.

If you disagree and think stealing others work is justified then you're one of life's c**ts.

Anonymous said...

Fair play to Dave for owning up to it, but I can't believe we're even having a conversation about whether it's okay to cheat. That's pretty fucking embarrassing if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

so now that Trott 'made it' it's called an integrity?

but what if he got sacked after 6 months (or quit)? would it still be called 'integrity' to ruin other person's chances? who was obviously better than him.

I think it's disgraceful to even brag with this things let alone 'giving a lesson'.

The Dandy Highwayman said...

He didn't 'own up to it' like "I know it was wrong what I done" he's actually bragging about it. And he can't even understand why Webster went ballistic on him.

I'm judging all of you. Judge judge. said...

He who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Anonymous said...

But that means no one can ever accuse anyone of doing anything wrong, ever. Typical horse-shit from the ol' bible.

MONOPOLY CHEAT said...

michael caine was once asked about the stinker movies he's made, such as superman 3 (i think). His reply was, i don't like the movie but i do like the house it bought me on a cliff.

the point being does it really matter?

it's all a game.

The Guy Above said...

To Anon 11:31

RE: "But that means no one can ever accuse anyone of doing anything wrong, ever. Typical horse-shit from the ol' bible."

What it means is that we have all done wrong and to take a look at our actions and motives and you'll find we are all the same. We have all done wrong.

irony said...

Yeah life's a game, get away with whatever you can get away with, and fuck everyone else.

Also monopoly's just so much fun when someone's cheating isn't it

Anonymous said...

anon 12.14
so just to clarify: we have all done wrong?

Anonymous said...

You can't condone pinching ideas, if his mate found out after trying to pass the same ads through the same people and they were like "we've seen these before pal, from a cheeky young man called Dave Trott, so jog on", Trott's mate would be well within his rights to cap his ass.

However, you can understand why he did it... get a foot in the door the quick and easy way, he still has to prove himself to keep the job long term... so fuck it, fair play to him.

Anonymous said...

sorry mate we haven't all passed off other people's work as our own actually

Anonymous said...

anon 12.04...leans back at his desk, with a match between his teeth and coolly appraises the situation.

"It's all a game man...it's all a just a sick game..."

Dave Trott ate my hamster said...

And he stole my work, too.
Bastard.
He even nicked this thing I have.
Of writing one sentence per line.
Twat.
After he got his first job.
I tried pitching my work around.
But they said I'd half-inched it.
Now I work at Burger King.
Damn.

Anonymous said...

happy thought -

Sorry to disappoint you.

Many moons ago I worked on a D&AD workshop to Dave Trott.

Can't exactly remember what the brief was, but someone had come up with a solution which involved adapting/subverting existing ads.

Dave Trott's response was 'I don't really need to tell you why this isn't right - you can't piss around with other peoples' work'.

!

He has to try to justify it as he still has a business to run. But there is no justification.

It's just another example of someone doing anything to get to 'the top'.

Depressing.

Anonymous said...

I'm truly astonished that this post is written by the same dude who just posted "Top Ten Lies Account Handlers/Creatives/Directors Tell"

What is this?
One rule for you, and one rule for everyone else...

Scamp said...

Hello last anonymous.

For the avoidance of doubt, the 'Top Ten Lies' posts are intended to be humorous, rather than a 'How to' guide to lying. Are you sure that wasn't clear?

If anything, their message is "don't bother lying because everyone knows you're doing it." Okay?

Anonymous said...

it's best to backtrack BEFORE you post, Scamp.

it sounds like you begin by being outraged that trott ripped off someone else's ideas, but then decide it's not that bad - with no real reason.

how about this for a barometer; is it okay if i go onto facebook and pretend i'm you for a while?

Anonymous said...

before I got into advertising I teamed up with an old friend who'd been trying to get in on his own for a year or so. We put our work together and he went to an interview which I couldn't make. I later discovered the agency didn't need a team, they only needed an art director he presented all the work in the book as his own. He got the job and got fired six month's later when they found out he couldn't hack it. I've not spoken to him since. It was 18 years ago. People who steal or attach their names to other's work are beneath contempt. Ideas are our livelyhood. Steal an idea and you're no better than any other thief.

Anonymous said...

quite right.

but unfortunately there is a fine line between thief and businessman. look at the state of the banking industry.

Scamp said...

2.21 - I don't follow you. Didn't mean to backtrack at all. Still most outraged. If you want to be me on facebook could you please update my status from time to time as I can never be bothered.

Anonymous said...

If someone steals an idea I'll just come up with a new one. It's kinda in the job title.

Anonymous said...

The fact that you commented on his while he hasn't commented on yours says a lot.

Anonymous said...

3.16 - It doesn't say a lot. If Trotty started up a post about why the way Scamp works being really dishonorable and disappointing and horrible, i wouldn't be surprised if Scamp didn't comment.

Because it's not exactly the friendliest thing, is it?

Anonymous said...

it happens all the time, i know of a guy currently working who teamed up with a girl from another team and they combined their work. She soon realised he was shite and the work in his half of the book must have been done by his old partner.

Not letting being dumped by a 2nd partner in as many months give him the hint that he should do something else he took the same book around with all her work and his other old partners and got a job on his own and has just got another at a top agency.

So in effect he's not got one job but 3 off the back of others.

The only good thing is he knows who he is as he's been confronted in the past and it won't be long before everyone else who knows gets in a position to do something about it and kick him out the industry for good.

Anonymous said...

"..when people find out you've lied or cheated, they get pissed as hell."

what, they go down the pub? Or are we in America now. This is disturbing. Like when Jarvis cocker sings "ass" instead of "arse". Otherwise great post. it's been too friendly here latley.

Anonymous said...

is it not a problem with the general attitude of the industry at large with the constant pressure to just 'get something out the door' or 'keep the clients' at any cost and if that means theft so be it?

I've found out the hard way when I highlighted an idea as something taken from others trying to save the agency face. I was told 'the train has left the station' and the client already loves it and made to feel as if I was the one in the wrong for even mentioning it.

The ad got made with constant glares and behind the back comments that it was jealousy driving me a throw a spanner in the works but low and behold the agency was threatened with legal action over it and settle out of court with the original idea creator.

It was such a mess but all along no one was willing to stand up for what was right as I think everyone had forgotten what it is now?

]-[appy Thought said...

@ whoever replied to me

Thanks for sharing dude, that is interesting. I admit I wrote that with loose hope but I guess it was for nil.

I'm not a fan of "do as I say, not as I do" thinking, but as Scamp has pointed out in a post some of the work that comes out of Trott's place is very similar to some YouTube content, so maybe it is something that is latent in the agency still?

I notice Dave himself has been without comment on this bLog, which I know he reads, so I guess it's been so long he's well over it; making this more or a theoretical ethics in advertising exercise than a witch hunt.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think i'd have to explain it, since I would have thought people clever enough to get the gist when I said...

"The fact that you commented on his while he hasn't commented on yours says a lot."

...What I mean is, Scamp is obviously jelous of Trott and so insead of getting up to his peg, he is trying to bring him down a peg or three.

Trott's blog kicks this one's arse. It is filled DAILY with lovely stories.

Scamp just rips off CREATIVEBEEF!

I don't know much bout ad history etc, even though i work in the industry but I know who i'd rather meet at a tea party.

HINT to the bloke who couldn't grasp my first comment, it aint scamp!

Anonymous said...

Why would you be jealous of the Trot of today? I've never seen a decent piece of work come out of his place, just dancing cat rip off rubbish. So can't listen or read anything the guy writes as it simply doesn't ring true

Whereas BBH is always producing new great work, so it a bit of a blog no brainer to me.

Anonymous said...

4.23 - My bad dude, I didn't get what you were saying, but yes i agree with you.

Right on, brother.

Anonymous said...

As I said, I don't have a degree in ad history but I much prefer Trott's stories. Seems all this blog talks about is the rankings...just coz it's top. Look at the top 10 in the charts and tell me how good the No.1 is. Trott is more than welcome to my tea party. Scamp can just go to the Top 10 tea party where the tea tastes bitter. BITTER!!!

Haha, sorry I can't keep this up. I do like BBH's stuff. Just think jumping on Trott for a bit of harmless blagging is a bit rich. Luckily i'm in so i don't have to worry too much bout my book at the mo.

I think it also comes down to some people doing good REAL work and some people just being able to make a good book.

There is a famous to at the mo who are 'all about the book' and look how they are doing with every real work opportunity.

If i was unemployed and could download a whole book to get my foot in the door of a BBH type house I would.

The end DOES justify the means coz fake work is fake work, real work changes the world.

Peace out!

Oh and thanks to the bloke who called me 'brother', i rather enjoyed that.

The Guy Above said...

Well, all this talk of creative theft - we do know that Juan Cabral did steal 3 of his best ideas - basically directly - Sony Balls (done on letterman way before and in San Fran, Cadbury's Gorilla, which there is a TV ad for and Sony Rabbits, which was done by a Japanese artist. So - is Juan a modern day Trott???? (Probably Juans actual ideas are the shit follow ups - Sony building colours; and Trucks)...

The Guy Below said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18BcWQsljvU

Anonymous said...

how to overcome jelousy in advertising?

The Guy Above said...

Not Jealousy - we are just having a converation over the net and pointed out that some of the most awarded creativity is borrowed. I don't give a shit enough about this industry to be jealous. I'm going home.

Anonymous said...

ok... I know you'll laugh... But...

I'm desperate...

Out of work designer here.

Anyone need one?

Anonymous said...

sleap well

Scamp said...

Talking about the rankings all the time? If 'all the time' means the same as 'once a quarter' then you're correct. If not, you aren't.

Anonymous said...

To everybody comparing this debate to Juan Cabral or others adapting ideas from YouTube... please stop. It's not the same.

mark g said...

Message to the person with poor grammar who doesn't plan to invite scamp to their tea party - I'm guessing he'll get over it.

Anonymous said...

Trott's a cheat. End of.

Anonymous said...

You say Scamp ripped off Creative Beef? By acknowledging them, and linking to them? This is your first time on the internet isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the fact that you have to recommend being a person of integrity a worry in itself, as in the other choice is the the usual option

Anonymous said...

Here we have a blog that's extremely pro awards. An industry, because that's what they've become, that we all know is rife with dishonesty and cheating. I would suggest that all those so upset by Trott's tale use all that "fundamentalist" integrity to sort out that sorry state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

Funny how Dave Trott keeps his comments moderated to only those that support his 'decision' to steal.
I despise people like him. I thought he might at least comment on my past experience (he didn't approve the post). Few of the campaigns from my book got nicked by a so called 'friend' who then took them to some agencies and showed it as his own. Securing a placement. I, on the other hand, had to take time to rework all of them, because people who seen 'his' book before mine thought it was me who stole the ideas.

Anonymous said...

9.17am - That's why Dave Trott only used the ads in ANOTHER country, so it wouldn't jeopardize his friend's chances at getting a job...

And you need better 'friends' mate.

Anonymous said...

I don't think altruism came into it, which is what your post suggests.

Anonymous said...

i get paid £1,000,000 a year and steal ads all the time.

James Cooper said...

I'm just wondering how much of the content on your blog - and by that I mean comments - is going to be used in your book?

And assuming you plan to charge people to read your book as a man of integrity what's a fair way to reward people for their creative work - ie they're writing?

Or do you legally own all the stuff here?

This is not meant to be snarky, I know it's a fine line on this blog, I'm genuinely interested.

Scamp said...

James, it's a good question.

I based my policy on the BBC's comments rules.

If it's fair enough for the BBC, it's fair enough by me.

I guess my view is that a blog is like a conversation. If someone said something to me, I would feel free to put it in my book. Same with comments.

In practice, I've only actually used a couple anyway.

Anonymous said...

I think is okay in his case. In the old days there is no internet. So I guess he broke the rule, and being the first one who started to steel works. And he still well famous in this industry, if he can only steel idea, then he wouldn't be here anymore, would he?

G

Anonymous said...

I'm quite appalled by Trott's follow up comments. I'd forgive him for stealing someone else's idea's, but not after his lying about it now. A legend has fallen and deservedly so.

Paul Skinbach said...

Stealing is rife.-Honda cog-fiat trampoline-the list goes on...
Is it shocking that Trotty steals?
We all know he borrows from Lasse Gjertson amongst other creatives types.
You lot even 'borrow' from each other.
http://www.coloribus.com/admirror/

I love the Levi's work bbh did last year. Wonderful.
But it doesnt look a million miles different from the wonder bra stuff. Which in my opinion is amazing too. Im not saying he stole it, but he could have.

Advertising ruins most good creative stuff to point that no one cares who did it. Have a lovely late summer, one and all.
Kisses and hugs.xx

Black Fauns said...

If you have the talent to back up the cheek of actually doing something like that ... and he certainly had the talent ... then I don't give a rat’s arse how anyone gets into the industry.

In any case, those without talent would sink within the first year and those with talent would rise. What’s the big deal?

Can’t believe the amount of “oh, one must not break the rules’ type people here … f*@k the rules … that’s what the are there for – to be broken.

I say, just make sure you have the talent to deliver.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with the above.

This is very boring, Scamp.
You're in danger of becoming a geography teacher,
"Don't break the rules, it's unfair on everyone else."

Very mild and bland indeed.

Anonymous said...

Receptionist rape?

Is that supposed to be funny?!