Former Campaign Palace chairman Paul Fishlock triumphs in case against Y&R Brands - awarded $270,000 damages after two year legal ordeal

Fishlock-Paul-SMALL.jpgPaul Fishlock, the former chairman and ECD of now defunct The Campaign Palace, has won his case against his former employer, awarded nearly $270,000 in damages by the NSW Supreme Court.

Fishlock - who quit in February 2011 just weeks after the hiring of ECD Reed Collins from Leo Burnett Chicago - sued the agency in August of that year.

The first Fishlock knew of Collins' appointment to the national ECD role was after reading  the exclusive CB Blog story on January 21, 2011.
At the time of Fishlock's departure, CB reported that he did not see eye to eye with Y&R worldwide creative director Tony Granger, who hired Collins to help resurrect The Palace's creative reputation.

In a statement following the judgement, Y&R said: "While we are disappointed that the court has awarded some damages to Paul Fishlock, we believe it is significant that the decision awards him substantially less than he sought.

"We are pleased that the court has found that the covenants he was subject to were reasonable and that certain of his claims were rejected.  We are currently evaluating our next steps, including whether to appeal."

Fishlock, originally from the UK, joined the Palace in the early 90s after a stint at Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney. In 1997 he formed BMF with fellow Palace heavies Warren Brown and Matthew Melhuish where he helped build the agency until being bought out by his partners in 2004. Soon after he re-joined The Campaign Palace as chairman and ECD.

Since then, there has been a string of creative directors and creative teams hired for both Sydney and Melbourne, most leaving after relatively short stints, while the awards were few and far between - a far cry from The Palace's creative dominance from the 70s through to the early 90s. The Palace finally folded into WPP shops JWT in Sydney and Y&R Group in Melbourne in June 2012.

Read the full judgement here.

52 Comments

Sweet justice! said:

After the out-of-court settlement of Ogilvy Singapore and now Paul's win over Palace, it's proof that the little guy can't get his day in court and show WPP a bloody nose.

Lesson: Don't take shit. And get a good lawyer.

WPP'd off said:

Can you believe the arrogance of Y&R?

They lost outright, and they're still trying to spin it to make them seem in the right somehow.

What an unpleasant bunch of people.

gopaul said:

That Y&R statement makes them sound like complete arsehats.

asdf said:

Corporate Karma WPP.

Justice League Australia said:

Makes for compelling reading.

Y&R come off as heartless corporate thugs, which they no doubt are.

Why would a group so obviously fixated with PR with such deep pockets risk this sort of bad press over a few hundred grand that they owed someone anyway?

What a low, disgusting company.

Adcynic said:

Paul comes off looking good. Not so those in charge at CP.

bb said:

Great read of the case notes, just shows the lack of professional management and unethical treatment of staff at all levels within this industry.

Y&R should be held accountable for their stupidity and poor judgement.

Well done Paul.

Arseclowns said:

Have a read, those of you in power at WPP agencies.

This big ugly machine will turn on you and stomp on your head the moment you no longer suit their needs.

Even the big dogs have got fired.

Think about who you're working for.

young creative said:

when one of those big wig management types occasionally appears on this blog, i always got the creepy 'smiling assassin' vibe. case notes proved it! ruthless.

Master of the universe said:

One particular Big Shot who first kicked up this shit storm was described as
“an arrogant leader in New York”. lacking “commercial savvy” and a “bully”.
A typo surely.
It should be a 'Bit Short'.

Like said:

Like

PR this chumps said:

Interestingly I was just spammed with Y&R's 'Regional round-up'. Oddly, it didn't mention this.

Adman said:

My God, I hope clients are reading this.

And I hope it causes them to question the ethics of these agencies they do business with.

Defense Force, are these 'trusted partners' cut from the same cloth as you?

Really?

Not Happy Jan said:

Why does advertising think that industrial relations law doesn't apply to it?

It's great that Fishlock got his result but he's a rich old man. What about all the people who get made redundant with no warning all the time?

The big tops at Y&R should be ashamed of their vial and unethical behaviour.
But who are we kidding that these same chumps aren't in the big jobs at every agency. Spineless, pathetic reptiles that don't have the decency to act professionally.

Advertising is stuck in the 80s while the rest of the corporate sector are lightyears ahead when it comes to Industrial Relations.

Shameful said:

I've read the whole judgement and it is nothing short of gobsmacking and positively Machiavellian. The attitude of some people, specially the NYC peoples, denotes a complete lack of fairness, respect or compassion for their fellow human beings and a distinct lack of moral and professional integrity. They've had their judgement in court. They should prepare for their judgement in life. It's not going to be pretty. Shameful.

Don said:

I read the secret to becoming an executive the other day. It's quite simple, you stop making decisions on what's best for the company and make decisions on what's best for you. Bugger everyone else.

Justice watch said:

Man, that judge really cuts through all the bullshit towards the end there.

Fair maiden said:

When these things happen theres almost a default position, an attitude as if you can never retrench or fire someone. There's nothing wrong with replacing someone if you do it fairly and with respect. Or if you can't afford them.
But clearly this is not one of those times.
Why would you try to defend this?
Don't go to court and waste a guys money and time trying to defend a lie, say (for example) that someone wasn't creative leader of an agency when they clearly were the creative leader. And that you went and replaced them while they were still there.
Don't act like you won when you lost.

Old CD Guy said:

And to think I used to work with many of these vipers. It's worth noting how impressively across his brief the judge in this case is. What a refreshing change that is from the often cursory and superficial acquaintance most of us in advertising have with our subject matter. Brilliant reading, and a clear victory for the plaintiff.

WhyPayPeople said:

Excellent reading - well done Paul, you stood your ground and the facts won.

Maybe Network 10 could do an adaptation - create a sitcom - they sure as hell need ratings - Hamish and Russell could play themselves!!!!!! Hilarious.

As for Mr Mackay, you reap what you sew.

How WPP let this go to court shows utter contempt. They thought they would win.
Not only do they stall/damage careers [the list is long], they expect not to pay what's owing.
Surely judgement re costs have to be in Paul's favour.

No one looks good said:

No one looks good in here. No one. Easy to see how Y&R come across as the villains of the story. But Reed doesn't look much better either. CCO, ECD, national CD of an agency that at the time could hardly rub two dollars together to make a third one! This is just sympthomatic of an industry more focused on titles, prestige and PR that on getting on with our clients' business. Clients, take notice! Too much fluff, not enough substance at Y&R at the moment!

It's a dog fuck dog world... said:

Seem to remember the same thing happening last decade with a couple of senior creatives... What agency was that again?

Oh... Y&R.

Sometimes you're better off giving them everything they're owed, and a few months on top if you're not too sure they have a case against you. Because most of the time, there is.

Ex Palace, Ex Y&R, Ex the Industry said:

Best story on the Blog in living memory. Even tops the news that the harridan Mrs Marsh of Colgate toothpaste fame died yesterday! Don't you love the way Judges cut right through the bullshit in such an impressively articulate way?

Groucho said:


Let's hope that any staff and clients with a shred of decency at Y&R are applying themselves to finding new agencies this weekend. This bunch of arseholes need to wiped from the anals (intentional that was) of the business.

A Skeleton said:

Yet another grubby saga from a long WPP history of arrogance, immorality and the arse-protecting weaknesses of faceless men.

Elvas must leave the building

Richard Denham said:

Paul, your shout.

Watch out said:

Y&R Brisbane peeps - there's G(e)M of an "executive" there too (nice def Don btw)

vile
sow

Dog bites dog said:

If you don’t feel like reading the whole judgement but want a good laugh, just check out section 252. I have a feeling Mr Mackay and Mr Granger’s net meeting may be a little tense.

Puzzled said:

Can someone tell me why these bozos committed so much of their slimy and damning communications to email instead of using the phone? And how did the court get a hold of them? One wouldve thought they wouldve been wiped clean from the servers a long time ago.

@Puzzled said:

Easy. It's called a subpeona.... they can collect whatever evidence they need.

I'm pretty sure I remember WPP adopting a policy of archiving every email ever sent by anyone in their network. It happened a few years back after some other nasty bit of trouble where they'd wished they had records of their employees emails to crucify them with.
That decision has obviously backfired on them BIGTIME.
Serves them right... it cuts both ways.
Those guys sending emails like that were dumb, dumb, dumb.

Always read and properly understand your contract. Never put anything in writing that you wouldn't want to come out later on. Know that if it gets down to legal action, it won't be pretty and they will be nasty.

I'm betting there will be a host of new gmail accounts opened up after this.

Good on you Paul for having the guts to get all the way to Supreme court. Congrats on the result.

Groucho said:


@Puzzled: because 1.people like this can't look each other in the face
2.being in the same room opens them up to the risk of knife
attack
. 3. when people don't even trust their closest allies having it in
writing is less risk than not.

Anyone who has been there will know what I mean.

Erasmus said:

All agencies lie to their staff when it suits them. All agencies betray their staff when it suits them. It's kind of a quid pro quo for getting higher salaries than we deserve. But it's also kind of nice when, just occasionally, management at an agency gets told they can't always lie and betray their staff with impunity.

Erasmus said:

But to be fair, agency people aren't to be relied on all that much either. How many people have started their own agency by pinching business from the agency they were working at? And there was that other time, at the same agency group, where a certain creative and a certain MD seemed to have colluded in taking one of the biggest accounts in the country with them - even after getting a nice cheque to stay at the agency. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose. But some people who stay loyal to an agency seem to get hit in the teeth by the swing, while others drop into an agency, clean it out, then leave it to go down the slide.

Madmen 2013 said:

This is a classic case of trying to get the best of both worlds and getting nothing at the end.
They wanted to keep Paul to accept the unacceptable to ensue business continuity so the money would still flow in.
They were myopic to assume that Reed was the silver bullet to restore CP to its former glory.
Nice plan.
If it worked.
CP is gone.
And Y&R is out of pocket with damages, legal fees and on the backfoot. Again!
What a lovely cautionary tale.

Sorrell's brother said:

Interesting that while most come across as totally dishonest and spiteful, Nigel quietly and courageously did the right thing - and was thoroughly vindicated by the judge.

I was there said:

He killed The Palace.

Cautionary tale said:

The replacement of proven leaders with younger and untested creative heads have led to the decline and disappearance of some pretty strong Y&R shops around the world. Where is the legendary Campaign Palace now?
If anyone at WPP is doing the maths, do tally the pre-current regime and post current regime figures. Was it worth the pursuit of stupid door stops?
The pursuit of awards started as a mole and festered into a cancer without borders.
WPP should take the damages out of a few paychecks. Better yet, out of the awards budget.

ace. said:

2 things I've learnt.

1. Do your timesheets
2. Careful what you say via email.

Anyone notice how IT turned up to work this morning all driving BMWs? 'About my Sent Messages folder...'

Nuke said:

not one person involved in that story from CP or Y&R Australia is still with the company..go figure

EX GPYR said:

So glad to be out of there.

So maybe it wasn't handled all that well but... said:

He was getting how much for working only 4 days a week when they were losing clients, losing pitches and losing staff?!?

Groucho said:

Oh I do so hope that this encourages all those people who have been boned in the past (is there a statute of limitations on this offence) to go for it. Lets not stop at condemning just one as the judge did but let’s exposé the arseholes who had their personal fiefdoms, the no-talent idea stealers, the people who encouraged ‘managers’ instead of advertising people to run agencies and the carpetbaggers who flew in, raped and pillaged and flew out. Hope that karma gets them all, but lets not rely on that. Sue the bastards I say.

@ I was there said:

I'm just wondering which 'he' in particular you mean? There certainly seems more than enough blame to go around.

I was there in the late 90s and it was going downhill then, without help from any of these guys.

One bizarre aspect of this is the agency's on-the-face-of-it reasonable desire to see the national ECD more engaged with clients.

Fair enough. Yet they agree to him working a four day week? The national ECD of a struggling agency needs to be working 6 days a week for his 400K, not 4 days and flinging 50K back. Four day weeks are a perk in the run-up to retirement, not the sort of commitment needed to turn an agency around.

Yet they agreed to it, and apparently never gave him a verbal or written gee-up about his non-involvement. Who was actually in charge and running the business?

Inconsistent said:

Yeah, 9:45, but they were happy to pay an untried, relatively unknown juniorish writer $340k.

Re so maybe it wasn't handled well but ........ said:

From what I have read Paul was bring in and retaining multi million $ clients.....isn't that why there was a discussion to set up a community and government arm?

Meanwhile earning more, in a higher place within tcp, loosing business left right and centre......not to mention staff leaving - how many CD's, MD's and support staff did both offices go through in the years prior to the shut down? All that was left were staff waiting for payouts.
Reed was sold a lie, it was broken before he arrived.

MisterE said:

@"Watch Out" of Brisbane - that's a bit rich!

Who was in charge? said:

Going through the titles and game play, mark mackay was in charge of the palace and running that company. How well he did that is somewhat questionable.

He in turned reported to russell howcroft who appears to be in charge of y&r brands in Australia, which the palace was a apart of.

Denton said:

Love to see Y&R pitch their case to Gruen. I wonder which way Howcroft would vote.

Cheeky said:

How about a 2 hour Gruen special on this. With good promos it would break all viewing records. Perhaps even as a one-off Network 10 show. Idea, Mr Howcroft, Mr McLennan?

entertaining said:

The case notes read like an episode of 'Rake'...

Yeah! said:

ADDITIONAL UNINFORMED COMMENT!

Old CD Guy said:

Yes 12:09, this puts fiction to shame!

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