August 17, 2010

What's in a slash?

I just noticed a posting on Agency Spy that referred to the current incarnation of the company as "Chiat/LA" or "Chiat."

I posted a comment (which got zapped by the editors) that the company is now called "TBWA\Chiat\Day," thank you very much. I mean, if they want to refer to the company, they should really just short-hand-it by saying "TBWA." Comparing the two corporate cultures is like comparing Frank Sinatra with Weird Al Yankovic. (I stretch the metaphor, but you get the point.)

Then, there's the little issue of the "backslash" instead of the "forward" slash. When we were Chiat/Day, we used the forward slash. The new corporate entity uses the "backwards" slash, as in "TBWA\Chiat\Day."

I just spoke to Amy Miyano, the greatest of all Art Studio Heads to ask her if maybe I was confused all these years. Maybe we did use the backwards slash. She said "no," that some new corporate letterhead designer thought the backslash looked better.


Addendum: I received this tidbit from Ken Segall ....

Personally, I've always thought that the use of the backward-slash in TBWA\Chiat\Day is just plain silly. It adds nothing, though it does an excellent job of confusing things for various publications and sites that care to write about the company. I can fill in some of the blanks about the evolution of the slash, since I was in the agency when certain events took place.

Here's what I recall. (If I get any of the facts wrong, maybe someone can correct me.)

Chiat/Day was always just that. Normal forward-slashes. After the merger, it was simply TBWA/Chiat/Day. Still forward-slashes. Sometime near the end of my last stay at Chiat LA (probably 1999-ish), Lee spearheaded a project to re-jig the agency image. A very lavish, oversized hardcover book — encased in a gorgeous shiny red box — was created to represent the agency and its values. I imagine it was used for new business purposes, and to get the offices in different cultures around the world to drink the juice. The book included an agency manifesto written by John Hunt, then creative director in South Africa. (He later headed the NY office for a time, with the title of worldwide CD.) As part of this project, Lee's "worldwide director of art" worked with a design team to resculpt the agency website and take a fresh look at the logo. Out of this effort was born the reverse-slashed version of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

The new site and new graphics debuted at our annual Worldwide Creative Directors Conference held during the Cannes Festival that year. I was in the room when the new design was unveiled, and heard the rationale for why they did what they did. Lee's art director explained to the assembled creative leaders that the slashes had been switched in order to "point forward," because Chiat is so future-oriented. I still kick myself for not speaking up at the time, because I was truly just a whisper away from saying, "Uh ... but those slashes are actually pointing backwards. That's why they're called 'backslashes.'" However, I didn't want to rain on anyone's parade, and by that time I was thinking more about the lavish meal we'd be enjoying immediately after.

The rest is history.



Kenny, Michael Rylander says the pitch book was yellow and is actually sending me a copy!

Steve Alburty

And here it is, courtesy of Michael Rylander, proof positive that TBWA, which wanted to use a "forward slash" to show how future-oriented the company is, is actually using a "backward slash." (Look it up in Wikipedia!) Thank you, Michael!


Oops. Wait a minute. Laurie Coots something to say:

It isn't about modern it was about hierarchy.

Here's our blurb:

The slash is our rallying cry.

The worldwide symbol that brings us together.
Constantly pointing us toward the future.
Challenging us to think not only about “what is”
but also “what could be.”

It connects the most passionate, creative minds in the world,
granting them the independence to believe in their instincts
and trust the magic.

It is a symbol of our prime skill.

Our ability to see and define the possibilities of tomorrow,
and to transform a client’s future through the power of an idea.
It is our diagonal lightning rod for change.

In classical taxonomy when you write the slash this way "/" it usually means that what follows the slash is subordinate or lesser than what came before the slash. A daughter phrase

Whereas, when you use the backslash "\" what follows the slash is equal to, and a peer of the what came on the other side, I understand this is also the rule in computer programming.

We used this explanation to help us get 250 offices to change their agency names so that they lead with TBWA\...

And that's the real fucking story.


May 02, 2009

3Peas Consulting



Not out of the box. No catch phrases. No mind numbing power-point delivered by some humorless stiff you can't imagine has ever had a tight deadline or a crazy client, or a lunatic manager. It's me! Eve!

3Peas consulting is fresh! It is training and coaching that your team wants presented by a person who gets it. 3Peas consulting isn't old and sage; it's salty.

3Peas really teaches your staff how to manage, review, terminate, promote, change a stale process. It is how to give killer presentations, run a meeting, and what you need to know about employment law if you are managing people. All presented in a way that is relevant, real, customized to your firm and worth your and your staffs time.

I am going to be up in NYC May 13th -16th, and would love it if any of you have the time to talk with me about how I could bring some spark and useful information to your teams. Plus I miss the minds (and even some faces) of so many of my old C/D friends, it would be great for a chance to see you and pretend it’s business!

Give me a call or email me if you’d like to take me up on it!



February 23, 2006

Worst Company in America


Forget the Oscar race. Here's a competition we can all get our dander up about. Just who is The Worst Company in America?


February 11, 2006

Danish business

A fascinating story from the Washington Post on the impact of Cartoongate on Danish business.


January 26, 2006

Dumbest Monents in Business


Every year, Business 2.0 presents its annual roundup of the previous year's stupidest business decisions. Here is a compiliation from that list of the year's dumbest moments in advertising. Just pray one of yours isn't on the list.


January 18, 2006

Synthetic Worlds


It's my job to alert you when there's something startling new afoot in the world of technology, especially when that something new is creating an entirely new marketplace. That something new is the world of online reality games.

I'm not talking video games, I'm talking about huge, multi-player fantasy games, played online, where characters and "virtual land" are traded --- for real cash. It is not hyperbole to say that the economies of these virtual worlds exceed, in size, the economies of some countries in the real world.

"Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games" by economist Edward Castronova should be required reading by anyone who wants to impress their client with some mind-blowing insight into a new economic frontier.


October 16, 2005

Life Hackers


A fascinating article from the New York Times about the attempts of computer scientists to measure how office workers manage to function at all in the psychological state of "continuous partial attention."


May 08, 2005

The Hypomanic Edge


Let me see if I understand this correctly. I'm not really crazy, I'm poised on the brink of fame and fortune. How fabulous! (Ok, you can stop the Valium drip!)


April 12, 2005

Worst Jobs in History


You think your job in advertising sucks? Try being a leech collector, or a plague burier. Take a nostalgic look at The Worst Jobs in History ...


January 19, 2005

Mr. China


When the Economist magazine named its best books of the year, among the picks was "Mr China: A Wall Street Banker, an Englishman, an ex-Red Guard and $418,000,000 Disappearing Day by Day." You just have to love that title.

Says the Economist ...

Every foreign company in China should arm its executives with a copy of this shocking, funny and culturally sympathetic tale of the perils of doing business in Asias wild west. This first-hand account of one of the most expensive foreign forays into the Middle Kingdom is happily also one of the most instructive business books on China around. Next year the book will be translated into Chinese, for a market on mainland China that is hungry for business advice.


March 18, 2004



Down with multi-tasking and efficiency! Finally, a book that codifies what we've all intuitively understood: goofing off is good!


December 03, 2003

The CEO's new office


The mayor of New York City? A businessman. The governor of California? A showbusinessman. The prime minister of Italy? A media tycoon.

Anamoly or trend?

An article in Tuesday's New York Times about the effect of big business on Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections says business executives could win more than 20 percent of Parliament's 450 seats. Another 40 percent could end up in the hands of what are called 'hidden lobbyists,' candidates supported by businesses to protect the interests of specific industries.

An article in today's Times reports that three Rwandan news media executives were convicted of genocide for inciting a killing spree by machete-wielding gangs who slaughtered about 800,000 Tutsis in neighboring Rwanda in early 1994.

The backroom power of business in politics is well-known. But have businessmen taken the next logical step, swapping the corner office for political office? When media executives are being convicted of genocide, it gives one, as they say, pause.

August 31, 2003

Pump and dump


The perfect Labor Day party game: solving a labor dilemma from today's "Ethicist" column in the New York Times:

Question: "My manager wants to complete our project early and thus save money by laying off many of the support personnel (testing, quality assurance, documentation). To motivate the engineers, he has offered us a bonus pending early completion. Is it ethical for me to profit by firing others or for my manager to put me in this position? "

Think about how you might answer this question, then without reading the Ethicist's answer, click on the Comments link below and tell us how you'd answer the question. Then, and only then, read the Ethicist's answer here. (Free registration to New York Times website required.)

August 28, 2003

A Labor Day Special

In an age when employees are labeled "human capital" and workplace longevity is measured in months, some companies have finally begun to realize that a truly loyal employee is a rare and valuable asset that should be recognized, nurtured, and, ideally, sold to the highest bidder.


August 26, 2003

Risk Consulting

How vulnerable is your company (or client) to fraud? What are the chances your accounting dept. and/or auditors are cooking the books? Do you have a plan in place in case of a need to conduct "data forensics?"

One man's woes are another man's billable hours. Welcome to the world of independent risk consulting.


June 05, 2003

I Wonder

Do you supposed Ken Lay watched Martha Stewarts "perp walk" yesterday from the comfort of his living room in Aspen or by his pool in Palm Beach?

May 29, 2003

On a wing and a prayer

2,500 Projects in Two Months! A profile of the lift-off of Song, Delta Airline's attempt to shed excess baggage.


May 27, 2003

What Was

Just four short years ago, money flowed like water and ideas were
plentiful in the Internet world. The notion of retaining an in-house
Zen abbot for e-commerce didn't warrant a second thought -- instead
it was embraced. As Casey Dunn, the former CTO of failed online
clothier says, "It was in the water." The former dot-com
executive developed this site to chronicle the birth of the online
store backed by the founders of Banana Republic. While some of the
technical details in this exhumation may seem dry, there's plenty
of interesting behind-the-scenes commentary. It's all here -- quirky
item pages resurrected and critiqued, an examination of unsuccessful
marketing efforts, and the failure to standardize sizing, which
led to return rates of 80%. While today's armchair analysts are
having a field day with the bursting of the bubble economy, sites
such as this one provide a fitting (and interesting) epitaph to
the demise of many a dot-com.