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Panasonic Pulled Through The Mud In Fishlock Row

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 15/05/2013

It was like an episode of Mad Men


But Paul Fishlock certainly was not laughing. 

The case of Paul Fishlock v The Campaign Palace saw details of Panasonic's creative account come under the spotlight after Fishlock was deposed from his $350,000 a-year job as Executive Creative Director/Chairman of Ad agency The Campaign Palace owned by Y&R, in 2011.

Fishlock only found out his employer Young & Rubicam (Y&R) was sacking him and replacing him with Mr Reed Collins to the slightly different role of 'National Chief Creative Officer' when he read about it in trade press, reports Mumbrella.

The Creative exec claims he received no notice period or redundancy entitlements and claimed Y& R repudiated the employment agreement, in the case heard before New South Wales Supreme Court, earlier this year.  

Y&R denied any liability and alleges a number of senior executives employed performing similar roles to Fishlock and argued there was no single head creative role at the Sydney and Melbourne offices. 

However, the case revealed confidential details about the Panasonic account - one of the 'Palace's' key clients, including how it was "pissed off" with the high staff turnover at the agency. 

The Supreme Court also heard Y&R dispute that Fishlock was responsible for the Panasonic account, and Y&R asserted Fishlock's responsibilities were focused and limited to clients mainly in the government sector. 

It also came to light that the electronics giant paid their ad agency $864,497 in 2010, as did other details of the inner workings of Pana's agency. 


In one email Mark Mackay, Y&R's Executive Chairman, sent to Tony Granger global creative director at Y&R, on 27 September 2010 indicating he wished to give Fishlock the boot:

"Clients like Panasonic and Dominos are already pissed about the high turnover rates, so I think we need to ease him out after Reed and Michelle have had some time to engage. I accept that he is not the future but if he left at the end of March 2011 this might be workable."

In another email Mackay sent an email to The Creative Palace Creative Director, Howcroft stated:

"In all honesty, I fear that Panasonic and other Government business will see this as the final straw." 

Panasonic was also cited in Fishlock his evidence stating that on occasions he may have delegated certain work to the creative directors, but intervened so as to change the shape of the proposal for the client.

He said he delegated responsibility for much of the day to day creative work for Panasonic to Mr Hoelter in 2009, who had come in as as creative director, and thereafter performed a more supervisory role. 

The case evidence also revealed Panasonic were charged $864,497 for services during 2010. Mr Fishlock is attributed with having charged $49,452 of this sum. 

In his evidence to the court, Mackay indicated Fishlock was the creative lead for a specific portfolio of clients most of which were in the public sector. He also said Fishlock was neither the creative lead nor was he responsible for some of the major clients Panasonic, Bonds and claimed Hoelter was the creative lead on Panasonic, Westpac, Bonds, Berlei accounts. 

Mr Hoelter was not required to obtain Mr Fishlock's approval prior to sending out any work but was required to report to the CEO of the defendant and was otherwise responsible for managing other creative staff on the projects.

However, Fishlock was vindicated in the ruling handed down late last week which saw Fishlock awarded $300,000 damages by Justice John Sacker, with costs to be decided at a later date. 





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