The Leith Agency suspends long-standing creative director Gerry Farrell over 'King Cobra' tweets


By Stephen Lepitak, -

November 2, 2012 | 3 min read

The Leith Agency has suspended long-standing creative director Gerry Farrell in light of his comments on Twitter aimed at councillor Steve Cardownie who openly criticised the original ‘Incredinburgh’ idea for the city’s winter campaign.

Farrell, who has until recently remained silent over the criticism, began to tweet about the campaign on Wednesday, where he tweeted “Phew! No leaks to media today from Deputy Steve Carbootsale. King Cobra clearly run-out of poison for the time being.”

This led to an ongoing discussion with his followers where he defended criticism of the campaign; “comic surrealism, makes most folk smile. Edinburgh needs to stop taking itself so seriously. 'Inspiring Capital'? Zzzzzzz”.

It is understood that the agency has suspended Farrell with immediate effect for his comments in recent days, having viewed his messages as having “crossed the line,” with the agency now conducting ‘a full investigation’ into his comments, with a follow up meeting scheduled next week.

Despite the comments aimed at Cardownie, who has apparently denied leaking the original criticism of the campaign to the press, the agency is still expected to continue to handle the account.

A Council spokesperson told The Drum that it’s focus would remain on promoting the city as an award destination. “We look forward to assessing the success of the new Winter campaign to help us to do this,” added the spokesperson, with the latest instalment due to roll out on Sunday.

Marketing Edinburgh is also set to stand by the agency The Drum understands, and is thought to be pleased with the campaign so far.

A Council spokesperson, said: "Our focus remains Edinburgh continuing as a multi-award winning destination. We look forward to assessing the success of the new Winter campaign to help us to do this."

"The 'Spend winter in Edinburgh' campaign can be seen on TV from this weekend. We’re very much looking forward to a successful winter for the city’s retailers, leisure businesses, events and attractions,” a spokesperson for Marketing Edinburgh would only say.

Meanwhile, Richard Marsham, managing partner of The Leith Agency, commented; “We have a good relationship with Edinburgh Marketing and so far we have only had positive feedback from the campaign and look forward to continuing with this relationship.”


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