I was delighted to learn today that Copyranter, a closely followed and extremely funny blogger about advertising, got a new job with Buzzfeed, the social-media content play of Jonah Peretti. I was less thrilled when, after quoting the official announcement of the move on B.I. Advertising, he threatened to punch my lights out.After reading my take on his new job, Copyranter (real name Mark Duffy, pictured) wrote me a direct message on Twitter:
You best hope we never meet. I’ve played hockey since I was 7 and will put your face out the back of your skull.
Until now, Copyranter was largely anonymous. Today, in his Buzzfeed announcement, he identified himself publicly as Mark Duffy. On Buzzfeed, Duffy described himself only as “a New York City copywriter for more than 20 years.”
But which ad agency did he work at? Duffy didn’t say. Also, his LinkedIn profile was set to private.
It didn’t take long to figure out that Duffy was the vp/associate creative director at Gigante Vaz & Partners, a small but venerable ad boutique. Here’s his resume, from a Google cache of LinkedIn. Knowing where he worked, I became a lot more curious about what Duffy described on Buzzfeed as “the first ad agency I worked at,” before he arrived at Gigante Vaz:
“[T]he first ad agency I worked at was a creative shop (40 people) that wasn’t too far off from Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. If anything, it was sleazier and druggier than anything you’ll see on AMC.”
He then went on to describe a woman who slept her way to the top of the agency, a CEO who smoked cocaine-laced joints and befriended mob hitmen, and a new business executive who died of a drug overdose:
“Our top account executive was sleeping with a creative director, a copywriter (not me), an account supervisor, and, I believe, the married CEO of the firm, all at the same time. She later became president of the agency.”
Naturally, I ran with the headline, “Copyranter Moves To Buzzfeed And Accuses Former Agency Boss Of Sleeping Her Way To The Top.”
This, perhaps, was not the way Duffy wanted the internet to remember his big Buzzfeed move. On his resume, Duffy identifies two former employers: Justamere Advertising Agency (which was a real shop in Hopatcong, N.J., not a made-up name) and Peat Marwick, which later became the accounting giant KPMG. He also said on Buzzfeed, “I actually started, post college, as a sports reporter and music reviewer, in the dark ages before computers took over newsrooms. More recently, I had a bitchin’ ad column — “Lies Well Disguised” — on Gawker for a year.
That would appear to narrow down the “sleazier and druggier” creative shop to Justamere.
This, perhaps, is why Duffy got so angry at me. He made several defamatory statements about identifiable former colleagues, offered no evidence to back them up, and his own resume names the only agency he worked at before he arrived at Gigante Vaz.
I wrote Duffy back, asking if his threats were real. He responded, “why, are you going to the cops?” he later added, “WHY, you think you can defend yourself, you weakling? NO, it wasn’t serious, because you’re a noodle-armed media boy.”
So, it’s all a lark. And perhaps that stuff about the former president of an ad agency sleeping with four different men (including the CEO) at the same time is all made up. That would certainly help Buzzfeed avoid some embarrassing potential litigation.
Here’s the Twitter DM, for posterity:
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