BLOGS OF DEATH (Oh, sure…here they go blaming the bloggers for something else now)
February 26, 2008 — No one seems to know why Paul Tilley, the 40-year-old creative chief of ad agency DDB Chicago, jumped to his death from the window of the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago on Friday.
But that hasn’t stopped a barrage of finger pointing on several advertising blogs at the center of a controversy about what role, if any, they played in Tilley’s suicide.
Most of the anger appears to be directed at two sites - Agency Spy and Adscam - that subjected Tilley to scrutiny leading up to his death. Both bloggers defended their coverage yesterday.
“I see in the comments of this post that many will point fingers at this blog for Mr. Tilley’s death. That is unacceptable,” Agency Spy wrote in a posting.
The defense was in response to readers who blamed the public scrutiny and “snarky” comments for driving Tilley over the edge or - at least - contributing to the pressure-cooker atmosphere in the ad industry.
One commentator wrote on AgencySpy: “Trust me… as someone who’s known Paul for over 20 years… he heard and felt all those comments and whispers.”
The controversy reached the upper echelons of the ad agency world, when Nina DiSesa, the chairman of McCann Erickson New York, jumped in to complain about the blogs.
“These hateful advertising blogs seem to be written by people who are bitter about the business,” DiSesa wrote on AgenCySpy.
Although AgencySpy doesn’t disclose its blogger, George Parker, a veteran ad executive, writes AdScam.
“I suggest anyone who still feels pissed off at me and Agency Spy should contact DDB Chicago,” Parker wrote on his blog yesterday. “They know why he committed suicide. And it didn’t have anything to do with what he read on a blog.”
Both blogs drew on internal memos Tilley had sent around the agency to critique his management style, with one calling him “demoralizing” and suggesting he take lessons in motivational speaking.
Tilley, who is survived by his wife and two children, fell from the Fairmont Hotel next door to DDB. Colleagues said he gave no signs of being depr