Amnesia Razorfish announces integration of social media by axing social media department

skirt_for_hire_karalee_evans mumbrella

Digital agency Amnesia Razorfish has announced a restructure that sees the closure of its social media department and coincides with the departure of its social media manager Karalee Evans.

Evans was hired into the role less than nine months ago, after running a much talked about “Skirt for hire” social media campaign to get a job.

Today’s announcement from the Sydney agency of “plans to redefine the way it undertakes social media projects for clients in 2011” comes a day after it did not respond to Mumbrella’s inquiry about rumours that most of the agency’s social media team had quit. The agency previously said it was the first in Australia to have a full time social media department.  

Today’s press release from Amnesia said: “The agency will today launch two new departments; Social Gaming, which will be lead by Brady O’Halloran and Emerging Technology, with new head Stephan Lange. As part of this change, social media will become a mandatory discipline across every role in the agency.”

ECD Iain McDonald had not returned Mumbrella’s call at the time of writing. In the press release he said: “Over the last four years social media has become more and more part of what we do, regardless of whether it is creative or media led, so we’ve decided that it’s time to take social to the next level within the business.

“As an agency we’re in the market of innovating and pushing boundaries and we don’t get results by standing still. We successfully rode the first wave of social, but the next wave looks bigger and better and we need all staff to have social media skills to continue that success.”

The announcement of Evans departure also offered a quote from her saying: “It’s been a great experience being here, and the success of the social offering has led to it being destined for new things within the whole agency.”

Although the agency said in its release that that Evans departure was “part of the new structure”, Mumbrella understands that she had chosen to resign in advance of that.

Amnesia said she would not be directly replaced but that a new position was being “explored”. A social media campaign currently underway is on behalf of Expedia, which sees control of the brand’s Facebook page handed over to consumers as part of a competition.

Ben Hourahine, Amnesia Razorfish’s strategy director, will now take charge of implementing social channel planning, the agency said.

The new Emerging Technology team was behind Amnesia Razorfish’s new sharing platform for users of the Microsoft Surface table which it launched last week.

Meanwhile, the Social gaming department builds on Amnesia’s existing skills, which has already seen it create more than 120 games over the last decade, it said. The department will also produce iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android apps.

Update: McDonald told Mumbrella: “Social has changed and we want to redefine what solcial means.”

Referring to the number of social media leads the agency has been through, including brief tenures from Ian Lyons (five months), Tiphereth Gloria (10 months) and now Karalee Evans (nine months), he told Mumbrella: “While it looks like it’s it’s something unstable, it’s been really good having those people through bringing in different skills.

“It looks like the agency is collapsing but it’s not that at all.”


  1. @eunmac
    2 Feb 11
    11:03 am

  2. Tim,

    I’ve been in a conference call with the US all morning but I WILL return your call 😉


  3. @tali3sin
    2 Feb 11
    11:40 am

  4. Hey Tim,

    Bit strong there don’t you think?

    I’m part of the social team over here at Amnesia, and can say that not one member has been “axed” – let alone the department.

    Those who have (or are) moving on do so at their own behest, and we’ll miss them terribly. Meanwhile those of us who remain, will be split amongst the departments here according to skill set – for instance I’ll move into Creative – but still with a strong focus on social. It’s not so much “axing” the department as it is melding it into the rest of the agency, another form of managing social activities/etc that should prove a to be a boon for all involved.

  5. @eunmac
    2 Feb 11
    11:59 am

  6. I’d just like to set the record straight.

    1. Nobody has been axed. That is simply not true.
    2. Karalee is brilliant, we love her and she is leaving for her own reasons and there is always a role for her here. I’d recommend her to anyone in a heartbeat.
    3. Social media is bigger and more important than ever in my view. We’re deliberately breaking it out of the old silo as part of a broader social strategy. In short, Amnesia Will be doing a lot more social work, not less.

    The thing is, we’re trying new stuff. It’s what we’ve always done. It could go horribly wrong… or it could be great. I’ll let you know in a few months.

    Tim has invited me to guest post on this which I am happy to do.


  7. @coby_w
    2 Feb 11
    12:16 pm

  8. Ummm…

    I’m in the Social Media department at Amnesia and things are looking A-OK from where I’m sitting.

    No ‘axing’ going on here, Tim.

  9. Karalee
    2 Feb 11
    12:38 pm

  10. So, just a bit of clarity as the wording on this article is a bit ‘disingenuous’.

    My decision to finish up with the brilliant guys and gals at Amnesia was because I feel I have achieved what I set out to achieve here. I’ve had a brilliant time, had success in driving social into every element of the business and walked the walk with many great clients.

    It’s an end to a great chapter, but one I made on my terms with the support of the agency. After a short break (maybe Japan?) I am looking to pursue my career opportunities with my head held high, and the backing and friendship of everyone at Amnesia :)


  11. Dam Wall
    2 Feb 11
    12:53 pm

  12. (Edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons)

    Now we’re expected to swallow the line that they’ve integrated social into the rest of the business? Again with no mention of the fact that the majority of the social team have quit. .

    Check their Linkedin and Twitter accounts. They are gone.

    Karalee has kept her chin up during a very difficult time. When Paul (@tali3sin) says he is part of the social team, he actually means he is one of only two people left, the two most junior members.

    It’s not just the social media team that is leaving in droves. Amnesia has been leaking like a sieve. Senior staff too – Multiple Strategy directors, Account Managers, Creative Directors, Senior Producers, the Design Director, the HR director and 4 Social Media Managers – all over the last 18 months.

    Friday afternoons are a merry go round of farewells and card signings. Morale is at an all time low.

    Something desperately needs to change . The Christmas period was a bloodbath of resignations.

  13. Nic Halley
    2 Feb 11
    1:06 pm

  14. the structure makes sense – social is just a part of the mix

  15. Wolf
    2 Feb 11
    2:12 pm

  16. Karalee is better off outside of that mess

  17. mumbrella
    2 Feb 11
    2:36 pm

  18. Hi Ian & Karalee,

    The Amnesia press release included the paragraph:

    “As part of the new structure, McDonald announced that Amnesia Razorfish’s Social Media Manager Karalee Evans will leave the agency.”

    Is it part of the restructure or not?

    If not (and personally I believe that it’s not) why say that it is?


    Tim – Mumbrella

  19. Real News?
    2 Feb 11
    2:53 pm

  20. Does Mumbrella ever publish honest and decent reports?

    Is it just me or does it seems that the Mumbrella articles are becoming more and more bitchy.

    Is this website to help people in this industry or just a playground for winging, moaning and backstabbing … ?

    Most Mumbrella articles I read these days are riddled with bitching.

    Seriously… please lighten up and discuss real issues and interesting topics in the industry and quit being so friggin pretentious.

  21. carrob
    2 Feb 11
    3:01 pm

  22. Tim,

    You don’t get your news from Press Releases do you?

  23. mumbrella
    2 Feb 11
    3:02 pm

  24. Hi Real News,

    If you want to read the approved version as per the (very well written) press release, then why not go to AdNews: I take it, that’s what you mean by “honest and decent” reports.

    Otherwise I’ll do my best to tell the story as I understand it.

    And carrob, I see press releases as a legitimate (but by no means the only) source of information.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  25. @eunmac
    2 Feb 11
    3:08 pm

  26. Tim,

    Part of the restructure means we are not replacing Karalee’s role directly in it’s current form. It’s that simple. Besides she’s irreplaceable right Karalee?


  27. Real News?
    2 Feb 11
    3:27 pm

  28. Tim… I’m talking about the majority of reports in general.

    Please excuse my use of the word ‘honest’. I don’t believe you publish false reports, you’re a trusted journalist, and you do publish many helpful and interesting articles, yes.

    However it seems these days whenever I visit the website more and more articles are bitchy, rude and derogatory.

    Mumbrella was once pleasurable reading. But with the continual bitchy reporting it is making a) this website hideous b) the industry a sad place to work.

    Can we all respect when some companies and people may have made mistakes, are learning, working hard…?

    Perhaps be a little more compassionate in your reporting…a little more human? It would be quite refreshing …

  29. Anonymous
    2 Feb 11
    3:44 pm

  30. Someone has egg on face.

  31. Bob Loblaw
    2 Feb 11
    3:47 pm

  32. @Real News
    “is this website to help people in this industry…?”

    I don’t understand how someone who most likely works in media can have NFI what the press is there to do. It is not Mumbrella’s job to help the industry; he is here to ask probing and difficult questions, which are not always on the right track. Based on other commenters it may be that in this case it’s not too wide of the mark either

  33. carrob
    2 Feb 11
    3:48 pm

  34. Real news? My experience has been that this is one of the bitchiest industries to be working in. I suspect you may confuse bitchynes with Tims attempt to encourage conversation around articles. Look at most high volume traffic websites, Gawker, engadget, Huff post etc. They could also be accused of being bitchy.

    Fact is an online publisher needs to maximise their page views because ad rates for online are so low. Even mumbrella which (I am guessing) would be hideously expensive for an online site, would still be a fraction of what his print competitors charge.

    And Tim, I was just kidding. Couldn’t help myself. Everyone get’s some news from press releases.

    Real News… couldnt agree more… What was once a fresh, innovative and interesting outlet for industry news and has also served as a platform for debate and discussion, has in my opinion, degenerated into some kind of warped version of OK magazine for the AD industry… boring…..

  35. Real News?
    2 Feb 11
    3:50 pm

  36. Sorry Tim…

    This article has just been bought to my attention…

    Will be good to (hopefully) see less of the bitching if this is the case…. and keep mumbrella a decent and less gossipy site.

  37. sven
    2 Feb 11
    4:00 pm

  38. ““It looks like the agency is collapsing but it’s not that at all.”

    can someone please get this company a PR adviser?


  39. Beaudacious
    2 Feb 11
    4:17 pm

  40. “In short, Amnesia Will be doing a lot more social work, not less.”

    Who is Amnesia Will? Looks like he’s going to be busy!

  41. Shocked!
    2 Feb 11
    4:20 pm

  42. Is Amnesia still around?!?
    I thought it was Saatchi’s & Mojo’s chop shop, now at The Rocks…

  43. anonymous
    2 Feb 11
    4:34 pm

  44. Well as a complete outsider all I can say is it sound like Tim needs to find a much better use for his time! (better would include garbage picking at this stage)

  45. mumbrella
    2 Feb 11
    4:39 pm

  46. A “complete outsider” whose IP address appears to be in common with Amnesia, I can’t help but notice…

    (If you have a chat to some of your more digitally savvy colleagues, I’m sure they’ll be happy to explain how to hide you IP address.)

    Need any garbage collected from Windmill Street?


    Tim – Mumbrella

  47. dave
    2 Feb 11
    4:41 pm

  48. all you guys are hilarious

  49. Anonymous
    2 Feb 11
    5:08 pm

  50. Tim – surely you have better things to do with your time than to perpetuate this type of bitchy swill? BORING!

  51. Eloise
    2 Feb 11
    5:10 pm

  52. For those branding Mumbrella a gossipy site, gossip plays an important role in human society. Indeed, according the Telegraph in the UK, ‘Gossip helps to glue society together.’

    So, dismount from your high horse and get amongst it! It’s good for you!

  53. Megan
    2 Feb 11
    5:26 pm

  54. How are people still fucking up the IP address thing? Everytime I read a Mumbrella article there’s some moron in the comments either astroturfing or being a “complete outsider”.

    Oh well, not like any of these people should be expected to be digitally savvy I suppose..

  55. Ashley Ringrose
    2 Feb 11
    7:12 pm

  56. Hey Tim

    Iain uploaded this video for you

    hahaha (sorry to use the same joke twice Tim, I couldn’t resist)

    And to people who complain about the bitchiness. These types of posts are comment bait, nothing more. Tim knows that it drives traffic and comments so why hold back? Tim’s not here to make friends and bring people closer he’s a media outlet to make mo money. (short term gain for long term failure maybe but everyone loves to bitch and gossip.

    Look at all the posts on Mumbrella and some get 0-1 comment while others get 100’s. Tim wants more in the 100’s

    I know as a blogger comments are like skittles. You can never have enough and after you post one scandalous post that gets a 20+ comments you want more and more. You become addicted.

  57. Get a life tim
    2 Feb 11
    7:14 pm

  58. I’m unsubscribing from Mumbrella.
    Tim. You’ve lost it mate.

    This is cheap muckraking not journalism.
    Guess what tim people move jobs. Are you going to report the news in this way when (edited under Mumbrella’s comment moderation policy)? Funny that.

    Let’s see if you publish this. I’ve screengrabbed it to send to amnesia if you don’t.

  59. anon1
    2 Feb 11
    7:23 pm

  60. Nothing I enjoy more than seeing ponytails get a good roasting. That said, Mumbrella rarely does more than a light saute. There are clearly some very thin and whingey skins around here.

    Anyone who’s been watching this entire “social media” saga trainwreck from the start is doubtless pulling up a deckchair and cracking open a beer along with me right now.

    “Brief tenures” – plenty of people are doubtless marvelling they lasted months not weeks.

  61. Anonymous
    2 Feb 11
    8:10 pm

  62. Me smells astro-turfing.

    Take a read of the bollocks adnews and bandt regurgitated about this straight from the press release.

    This is far closer to what’s going on there, although it doesn’t tell the whole story.

  63. mumbrella
    2 Feb 11
    8:21 pm

  64. I’m comfortable with the accuracy of what I’ve written.

    Amnesia put Karalee’s departure into the public domain by putting it in the press release press release, and saying it was “as part of the new structure”.

    Previously, she sought – and we gave – publicity for her appointment. It’s legitimate for us to comment on her short tenure, particularly when her predecessors lasted only five months and ten months respectively.

    But judge for yourself: I’m going to paste in the press release in its entirety below. You decide which tells the story more fully…



    February 2, 2011

    Amnesia Razorfish, the first Australian agency to create a full time social media department in

    2007, today announced plans to redefine the way it undertakes social media projects for clients

    in 2011.

    The agency will today launch two new departments; Social Gaming, which will be lead by Brady

    O’Halloran and Emerging Technology, with new head Stephan Lange. As part of this change,

    social media will become a mandatory discipline across every role in the agency.

    Amnesia Razorfish founder and Executive Creative Director Iain McDonald said: “Over the last

    four years social media has become more and more part of what we do, regardless of whether it

    is creative or media led, so we’ve decided that it’s time to take social to the next level within the


    “As an agency we’re in the market of innovating and pushing boundaries and we don’t get

    results by standing still. We successfully rode the first wave of social, but the next wave looks

    bigger and better and we need all staff to have social media skills to continue that success.”

    Doug Chapman, Co-founder of the Social Media Club and Amnesia Razorfish Client Services

    Director said of the restructure: “It’s a big step forward for our agency to recognise the critical

    importance of social going forward. Everyone in here will benefit, and our clients certainly will.

    Social and ROI have always been questioned and this model allows us to push the answers


    The first example of the new social structure in action is Amnesia Razorfish’s latest Expedia

    Facebook campaign. The campaign was led out of the creative department by Paul Cotton in

    the newly-created social creative copywriter role – Social Creative Copywriter, which he was

    promoted to from Social Media Coordinator.

    The campaign, which challenges Expedia’s customers from the community to “run the Expedia

    Facebook page,” has already exceeded all targets in less than 10 days, boasting 3,760 page

    likes and 40 entries, with two months still to run.

    The agency’s newly-created Emerging Technology team released its first project just last week

    – a new technology platform called Amnesia Connect, which allows gesture based social

    sharing between smartphones and a Microsoft Surface table. Launched last week, it has

    already received rave reviews from the industry:

    McDonald said: “You can clearly start to see the vision of social being implemented across our

    technology team with this particular application.”

    With Adknowledge revealing that on average, over one million Aussies access online gaming

    sites every day – The Social Gaming department has been created to capitalise on one of the

    internet’s fastest growing sectors. Amnesia Razorfish has already created more than 120

    games in the last 10 years and the new department aims to provide a platform for clients to

    embark on new social gaming opportunities like “Gamification” and “Funware”.

    The department will also produce iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android apps.

    McDonald said that Amnesia Razorfish staffs are one of the most social in the country. They

    have cumulatively more than 25,000 followers across Twitter and Facebook plus a blog read by

    more than 30,000 people each month.

    As part of the new structure, McDonald announced that Amnesia Razorfish’s Social Media

    Manager Karalee Evans will leave the agency.

    “It’s been a great experience being here, and the success of the social offering has led to it

    being destined for new things within the whole agency. It’s been fantastic to be able to work with

    incredible people and a myriad of clients on very successful strategies and projects”.

    Evans’ role will not be replaced, as a new position is currently being explored.

    As part of the restructure Amnesia Razorfish Strategy Director Ben Hourahine has implemented

    social channel planning across his team.

    Hourahine said: “We can’t preach a 360 degree social approach to our clients, without living it



  65. m.
    2 Feb 11
    8:44 pm

  66. I’m thoroughly amused by people complaining about this being reported. Do you think this isn’t of interest to, say, existing and prospective clients of Amnesia, stockholders of Publicis, prospective staff at Amnesia and so on? Of course it’s of interest. Just because we all work in media/comms doesn’t mean we get a free pass from the press. One of the reasons Mumbrella is valuable is that they don’t just republish press releases, they actually do some research. One presumes they didn’t have to do a lot of research for this story, given that the exodus at amnesia has been common knowledge for weeks.

    The sad thing is that incorporating social into the rest of the agency is the better way to go. Amnesia have tried having a social department and found that it doesn’t really work, the high turnover in that role is testament to that. (Tim, I think Heather Snodgrass held that role for a while, too). Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that people are leaving. Ad agencies have high turnover, it’s the nature of the business. Just call it a reorg/restructure and be done with it.

  67. Bob Loblaw
    2 Feb 11
    9:31 pm

  68. @m +1

  69. Revolving door
    3 Feb 11
    5:32 am

  70. so in this role or a variation has been ian, karalee, jennie bewes, tipereth, heather ann snodgrass … i guess the reason why this gets attention is amnesia announce these appointments with such gusto but then these people are gone within 6-12 months.

    incredible turnover at amnesia. maybe it’s the digi attitude of change for changes sake 😉

  71. Hola
    3 Feb 11
    8:04 am

  72. I just find the following statement amusing:
    “I feel I have achieved what I set out to achieve here. I’ve had a brilliant time, had success in driving social into every element of the business and walked the walk with many great clients.:

    Achieved all your goals in less than a year for the agency’s who social media practice? Find that hard to believe. Wither the goals weren’t too lofty or the company was fairly short sighted in how it integrated the social media offering and function into client programs.

    Just a thought.

    And so the revolving door turns again.

  73. Nic Halley
    3 Feb 11
    8:09 am

  74. “here to ask probing and difficult questions”

    Its just marketing guys, relax

    & ditto anon1

  75. Luc
    3 Feb 11
    8:55 am

  76. Slow news day…

    I’m announcing the integration of my donut and my coffee by putting the donut into my coffee.

  77. Dina
    3 Feb 11
    10:42 am

  78. There are lots of reasons people change jobs and no one really knows the truth except the people involved. It’s pointless for people to speculate and even more pointless to cast judgment. Especially when digital and specifically social media is a changing landscape everyday and most agencies are having trouble keeping up. (Visual Jazz seems to be doing a great job if i do say so myself :-). For most agencies its been an ongoing challenge to adapt their business models and even more of a challenge to find the right people for their social media projects. Everyone needs to take a bit of a chill pill, there is simply no precedent for the world we live in now. We are all just trying to work it out as we go along. Good luck to Amnesia and Karalee.

  79. Riarn
    3 Feb 11
    10:52 am

  80. Tim, for everyone who says they will leave this site, you’re recruiting 5 more readers with the debate you generate. If not, I’ll find them myself.

    Amnesia smells like ninemsn at the moment.. everyone wants out
    After once having an attempted headhunt by Amnesia, they told me they are THE agency which all media people aspire to join, but when I asked some staff for their review got nothing but luke warm responses, and questions about if my role would now be available.. not very inspiring.

  81. Dan German
    3 Feb 11
    11:51 am

  82. If Karalee “achieved what I set out to achieve here” in 9 months, then surely she’d be a top hire anywhere. What does this line say about Amnesia?

    Christmas party must’ve been shit.

  83. Dan German
    3 Feb 11
    11:56 am

  84. 9 months Karalee. I’d hire you in a minute!

  85. An insider
    3 Feb 11
    12:20 pm

  86. It’s not the first time Tim has got his knickers in a twist with Amnesia. In fact everyone here is used to him reporting bollocks get comments about an agency that has done nothing but good things for the industry over the years. It’s just laughable the way he never reports on wins, awards, new staff hires, innovation. In fact he’s never even been to this office.

    Here’s the last Amnesia repsonse to his pathetic misreporting:

    The truth is everything is great in here. All those negative comments are obviously from people who didn’t get a job here or were fired for being crap.

    BTW Feel free to check my IP address.

  87. mumbrella
    3 Feb 11
    12:49 pm

  88. Hi Insider,

    See that box on the top right hand corner with the words “search this website”?

    Try typing in “Amnesia”.

    What’s that? Amnesia wins Creative Showcase. That’s be an award, wouldn’t it?

    What’s that? Casella Wines appoints Amnesia Razorfish. That’s be an account win, wouldn’t it?

    What’s that? Amnesia hires Ben Hourihane. That’d be a new staff hire, wouldn’t it?

    And that’s just in the first few items.

    But the thing is, if you want me to write about the appointments, I might also write about the departures too.

    I’m not sure I believe you that everyone who left was “fired for being crap” though. I can think of plenty who chose to leave.


    Tim – Mumbrella

  89. Anon
    3 Feb 11
    12:50 pm

  90. @ A suit who doesnt like wearing a suit.

    You are quite simply a total loon(.)

    Mumbrella is a community site for people in media. If you want to know what is hot, who is saying what and where stuff is happening; you visit Mumbrella(.)

    It is not a site full of 5 page features.

    You quite clearly do not understand the purpose of Mumbrella.

    As for wearing a suit – just wear shorts (it’s summer!)

  91. Bart Jawien
    3 Feb 11
    1:22 pm

  92. Sorry to hear whats happened Kara – I know am a little late to respond but give me a shout as keen to help where possible.

    What’s on your agenda?

  93. An insider
    3 Feb 11
    1:51 pm

  94. @tim – That’s your problem isn’t it. You’re “not sure” but you go ahead and write stuff based on your silly little hunches and ‘sources’. You put live completely false user comments (probably ones you wrote yourself) about ‘leaking staff’. Then you bring up people who left 3-4 years ago? Time and time again these people who left have been replaced. The work gets better each time. What are you not seeing here? People leaving is not always a bad thing Tim.

    How about this: Get off your arse and bother to walk in the doors of the agency – look around, talk to the people, see the work being done and then you might get the real story.

    Congratulations Tim on bending the facts to serve yourself, deliberately and maliciously upsetting a lot of hard working people that turn up every day and do the best work they can no matter what. Oh but that’s not a story that gets you the comments is it?

    Don’t pretend you’re doing the industry any service. Misinformation does nothing for anyone.

    You must feel really proud of yourself Tim.
    You’re nothing better than a school bully.

    Shame on you.

  95. mumbrella
    3 Feb 11
    1:59 pm

  96. Hi Insider,

    That was me being polite. When I said I was “not sure” I believed your claim that every one of the dozens of people who have left Amnesia was “fired for being crap”, that was my way of saying that I thought you were lying. Sorry I had to spell it out.

    But if it is true that everyone of them was fired for being crap, what does that say about your recruitment policies?

    Blackening the names of your former colleagues doesn’t look, from where I’m sitting, like something to be proud of. Are you sure you want to stand by that claim?


    Tim – Mumbrella

  97. Old time
    3 Feb 11
    2:01 pm

  98. Whoever, ‘Insider’ is, he or she is propelling this story up the “most commented” chart.

  99. Dan German
    3 Feb 11
    2:02 pm

  100. Burrows, if ‘insiders’ are getting this cranky you must be cutting close to the bone. Good work.

    If Karalee wasn’t shoved, and Amnesia was a tops place to work, then she’d still be there. Most people stay in jobs they like.

  101. Leon Bombotas
    3 Feb 11
    2:41 pm

  102. The main story here is the maturing of social.

  103. Daniel
    3 Feb 11
    3:13 pm

  104. What sven said… brilliant.

  105. anon
    3 Feb 11
    3:17 pm

  106. Skirt for hire… Take 2.

  107. Papa Lazarus
    3 Feb 11
    3:49 pm

  108. Wow – this comment wall just shows how these guys know their shit when it comes to social. Who else would be able to create such conversation from (what looks like) a minor restructure? It’s a win for Razorfish who now have us all questioning our social departments and a win for the skirt as she announces to the world she’s looking for a better wicket on which to bat.

    Well done all for making a minor non-story into a juicy bit of gossip and for demonstrating to us PR folk that we haven’t cracked the digital social nut yet :)

  109. Setting the record straight
    3 Feb 11
    4:02 pm

  110. I’ve never posted on Mumbrella before but the comment from an ‘An insider” at Amnesia is too much.

    When they posted this: “The truth is everything is great in here. All those negative comments are obviously from people who didn’t get a job here or were fired for being crap.” They crossed a bullshit line and something has to be said.

    Everything is NOT great here.

    This person does not speak for me, or the majority of the staff here. The pressure placed on staff to place positive comments on public forums is wrong. The Terry Carney saga is still a sore point for many. If you want to find out what the staff really think, do come and visit us. Make it late in the day and join us at the pub afterwards for the real story.

    The irony is that on the company post ‘An insider’ linked to 10 out of 22 people on the Twitter list have left. This is the list they’re promoting to the world as an example of how brilliant we are.

    To the point, I’ve watched this company go from being the place everyone wanted to be, to the place that people can’t wait to leave. The staff have been burnt too many times by management to trust them and this latest PR stunt and astroturfing is the final straw.

    Here’s a rough list of the senior staff that have recently left. It is by no means exhaustive. To be honest I don’t know half the names of the juniors as the armful of farewell cards go around the office every Friday afternoon.

    Some have not been announced yet but everyone on this list has handed in their resignation and/or left the building.

    1. Terry Carney – Founder
    2. Todd Martin – Founder
    3. Jennie Bewes – Director Social Media & New business (not announced yet)
    4. Karalee Evans – Social Strategy Manager
    5. Ian Lyons – Social Media Director
    6. Heather Snodgrass – Social Media Advisor
    7. Tiphereth Gloria – Social Media Manager
    8. Angela Graham – Digital PR Manager (in the social team)
    9. Rachel Beaney – Social Media Planner – (not announced yet, at Channel 10 now)
    10. Carl Muggeridge – Strategy Director
    11. Tim Longhurst – Strategy Director
    12. Andrew Richardson – Creative Director
    13. Andy Pearce – Creative Director
    14. Ian Clazie – Design Director (relocated to US)
    15. Lizzie Joyce – Art Director
    16. Jonathan Gregory – Designer
    17. Michael Kleinman – Senior Designer
    18. Itam Giat – Tech Manager
    19. (name removed by Mumbrella as Amnesia insists they are not leaving)
    20. Tom Voirol – UX lead
    21. Rodd Messent –Account Service Director
    22. Aranka Van Tussenbroek – Account Director
    23. John Campbell Bruce – Account manager
    24. Matt Pratley – Project manager
    25. Andrea Horton – Executive producer
    26. Brett Robinson – Emerging experiences manager
    27. Stephen Dodd – Account Director
    28. Nico Earnshaw – Project manager
    29. Mark McFarlane – Project manager
    30. Greg Brine – Senior Project manager
    31. Joel Pearson – Account Manager
    32. Fei Wang – Media Coordinator
    33. Farzi Sayfi – Finance Manager
    34. Yanet Isdale – HR director

    That’s just the senior people, it took three of us 10 minutes to come up with that list off the top of our heads. There would easily be that amount again in juniors that I honestly didn’t get to know the names of. Every single departure has been in the last 18 months. A handful at the end of 2009 but the majority in 2010/11. Christmas was brutal.

    Either 95% of the senior staff are wrong or there is a problem with the management team. You be the judge.

    Most of the staff still here are stuck because of work visas. Some days it sounds like they’re filming an episode of East Enders in the office, but there is a small core of people left who would like to see this company do well again.
    (edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons). The stampede of people leaving the building is only a fraction of the problem the company faces.

  111. Anonymous
    3 Feb 11
    4:22 pm

  112. now then thats settled

  113. Ex Amnesia
    3 Feb 11
    4:49 pm

  114. Both Tim and (to a degree) Insider can be right.

    Yes, Insider, Amnesia is full of lovely, talented and hard-working people.

    Yes, Tim, Amnesia as a company is a rudderless ship with a hull like a sieve.

    No, Insider, not all ex-Amnesiacs are good riddance. The company has been haemorrhaging great staff at an alarming rate for at least two years, some say longer.

  115. Trevor
    3 Feb 11
    5:14 pm

  116. I have no idea what happened here and don’t really care. The management at Amnesia have tried a number of ways to build social media into the business. They had too – most web agencies have had the same issue. It’s been hard to commercialise and deliver a ROI to clients on this stuff. Getting it right is more difficult than having a spray on a forum. The problems are exacerbated by the fact the industry devotes it’s time to flaming other peoples work rather than looking for a better way. At least Amnesia are giving this a rock solid go.

  117. Riarn
    3 Feb 11
    5:42 pm

  118. The Insider, I would smash my computer and hack the server to delete all traces before the seniors at Amnesia find out who you are. Because if one of my staff was this antagonistic and whiney, hiding behind the face of my company I would ‘Fire them for being crap’ brand ambassadors

  119. carrob
    3 Feb 11
    6:15 pm

  120. You’d think that social media experts would know about how the “Media” part of their job works.

    Just sayin…….

  121. Remember my Amnesia
    3 Feb 11
    7:01 pm

  122. I worked at Amnesia, briefly and had a great time. I have friends and acquaintances who also worked there, some still do, who are all pleased to be there, or to have worked there for a time. I have a lot of respect for everyone I worked with and all the conversations I had there, and the quality of the output.

    I don’t see these numbers of departures from Amnesia as greatly different from a large dynamic Advertising or “new media” agency. In fact I’d say shedding so few producers was a good thing.

    I saw the Social media team do great work and, most importantly, have great influence on clients and the industry alike.

    Amnesia is one of the few agencies in Sydney staffed and run by human, engaged, passionate and compassionate people. The responses by Iain, Karalee, tali3sin and others clearly shows that.

    I’m sure Karalee has personal goals she’s targeting, and that Amnesia, sensibly, sees Social as another aspect to their offering and have decided to, integrate, rather than departmentalise that feature.

    I think

    Shit-storm / shit-stirring in a gossip-fuelled / catty teacup.

    Tim, entertaining as always.

  123. This should explain it all
    3 Feb 11
    8:50 pm

  124. Dear Digital Agencies,

    (Edited under Mumbrella’s content moderation policy – if the poster wants to make contact with me I’ll be happy to explain why. Tim – Mumbrella)

    Are we clear now? Beep.

  125. Gavin
    4 Feb 11
    12:06 am

  126. Karalee

    Sorry to hear you are going. Best of luck for the future.

    Beers on me soon


  127. Wow
    4 Feb 11
    6:26 am

  128. Wow, just wow.

    The list of people that have left Amnesia is mind blowing. There’s normal agency turn over, there’s a having a rough patch and then there’s HOLY SHIT! SHE’S GONNA BLOW! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

    Our agency picked up one of the senior people (not named on the list) and they’re very happy and relieved to be out of there. We’re very happy to have them.

    I wonder if it was wise for ‘an insider’ to label the people that left as ‘fired for being crap’? I wouldn’t make an enemy of that list of people. From what we’ve heard from our ex-amnesia person, there is a whole lot more to this story.

    I get the feeling we haven’t heard the end of this.

  129. Remembrance Day
    4 Feb 11
    7:12 am

  130. @Remember my Amnesia: you don’t see this as an unusual amount of staff turnover?


    This is some of the poorest astroturfing I’ve seen.

    Lets recap:

    They try to put a giant PR spin on a mass exodus
    They get called out on it
    They try to clean up the mess with this statement “It looks like the agency is collapsing but it’s not that at all.”
    They get laughed at
    They respond by astroturfing an industry website that is known for checking IP’s
    They get caught and get called out again
    They astroturf the same industry website again saying how ‘happy’ everyone is
    The get called out again
    They respond by saying the people that left were ‘fired for being crap’
    They piss off every former staff member
    A comprehensive list of former staff members is published
    They astroturf and claim this is ‘normal agency turnover’
    They get caught.

    Thank you Amnesia, this is going straight to my case studies of how NOT to run PR & Social Media.

    I can’t imagine what your clients must think of this unholy mess.

  131. Dan German
    4 Feb 11
    9:50 am

  132. This is much much better than “Shit my Dad says”.

  133. Groucho
    4 Feb 11
    9:58 am

  134. ‘An Insider” clearly not ALL the crappy people have been fired.

    This story is a great read an it is a pity Tim wasn’t reporting in the military days of Clems a few years ago, or the mid 90’s days of fear & loathing at Y&R Sydney to name just a couple.

    (Edited under Mumbrella’s comment moderation policy)

  135. Bart Jawien
    4 Feb 11
    10:58 am

  136. I’ll pay 50$ to the person with the 100th comment … give a rest people!

  137. Unbelievable...
    4 Feb 11
    2:55 pm

  138. It is a sad day to see an agency that a few years ago was winning so many awards and acolades to fall so far from grace.

    This fall (edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons) and look at the result, an agency that once won agency of the year for 3 years running to now having one of the lowest regards in the industry. I am sure TAB will start taking bets on the final day when the publicis group cuts is losses and winds it up.

    That list of people is atrocious, and from everything I have heard has missed allot of staff over the last two years, no wonder the HR manager was on this list, how could anyone manage the welfare of staff when (edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons).

    Not only does this entire thread show that the current Directors have lost the fundamental understanding of how to manage agency PR ( who let the ECD speak to a journo?? Where was the MD??) but they have lost the support and respect of their staff, an agency without cohesions is agency that will never succeed, Amnesia should look at cutting most of it’s staff, and re-inventing itself with new leaders. To have an agency discintigrate into this type of stupor is unforgivable, management should fall on their swords admitting their failures.

    The Publicis Group, this agency and by proxy the ECD is representing your brand and dragging you down, muzzle him and sort out this mess, I can only imagine the thoughts that are going through senior staff at their clients offices, let’s see how many accounts are up for pitch through the year.

    Maybe this is simply just Karma, (edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons).

  139. Carl Moggridge
    4 Feb 11
    3:12 pm

  140. I don’t like to get involved in this rubbish, but seeing as I’m named by ‘Setting the record straight’ here’s my pennies worth.

    I left to pursue a new opportunity not because of any problems at Amnesia Razorfish (as with most people on your list). Why not look at where most of these people are and I guarantee you they wouldn’t have those roles without Amnesia. Me included.

    If I’m ever asked to recommend a digital agency to either work at, or work with they would still be on my top 3 list. Well done to the people that have got the company through 2 takeovers, an ever changing environment, that also operates in a market with a very small pool of digital talent.

    The thing I learnt from Iain and everyone at Amnesia is that standards and innovation are everything. If that’s a problem then it’s not the place for you.

  141. Going down with the ship
    7 Feb 11
    8:44 am

  142. I’m a current Amnesia staff member.

    This post has dominated discussion in and out of the office over the last few days. Obviously it has been a difficult time for the company recently. We’ve lost both staff and clients. Carl, in the 12 months since you’ve left it’s gotten even worse. Despite that there are still some good people here.

    In order for this company to return to its winning ways we need to make changes. We’ve already had a significant staff changes and that hasn’t worked. It’s time for a change at the top.

    We need management to step up and stop the bloodletting. Astroturfing mumbrella is not the answer. We need the Managing Director to issue a strong statement to win back the confidence of our clients and remaining staff. His silence speaks volumes.

    (Edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons). It’s no secret that we’ve been struggling for a while. The most recent PR disaster has opened the door for recruitment sharks to pick the bones off the carcass.

    I’d like to stay, but (edited by Mumbrella for legal reasons)

  143. Industry Guy
    7 Feb 11
    11:43 am

  144. It’s hard to know for sure what goes on behind closed doors, but the list of staff who have left speaks for itself. No agency in Australia could lose that many without it having a huge impact.

    The big question is where is the MD? Why is he letting the ECD take the fall?

    Has Andy Pearce been replaced? If not, now would be a good time to chase a big name creative director.

    I can’t see the MD digging his way out of this hole. It seems the only way forward would be to fall on their sword, admit they’ve had a rough run and replace the senior management team

    If they can get the right people (is James Greet available?) they have a chance of saving what was once one of the best agencies in Sydney.

  145. fabfour
    7 Feb 11
    5:30 pm

  146. maybe a more pertinent question to ask – who IS making money out of social media? Or rather who is profiting from it? I see an awful lot of agencies spending a fortune in salaries – often spending investors money bulking up digital teams. Yet many reports show clients are still doing most of this kind of work inhouse.

    Can you blame them for ‘restructuring’? I don’t think anyone has this recipe right yet – no matter how much we’d like to believe the brave new world of social media opportunity is upon us.

    As long as Facebook, Google and co keep doing business directly with our clients (and they really are making money out of them) there will be a lot more restructuring to come for all those brave souls who invested in these sorts of structures.

  147. No shit sherlock
    7 Feb 11
    11:15 pm

  148. I wonder if their recruitment strategies such as “we insist on employees blogging” and “we don’t believe you’re passionate about digital unless you’ve got your own blog about digital” are one of the reasons it’s all going a bit pear shaped. Instead of *gasp* looking for experienced comms professionals to actually provide outstanding strategic communications experience to their clients. ( Not a kara bash btw some people have both. To me that means you’ve just hired a lot of people who like to talk a lot. In what other industry is your employment predicated on you proving it’s your hobby? Do any cheeky weekend surgery doctor? Why of course! Here’s my blog and YouTube channel! Ah well you’re hired!!

  149. Real Yield
    8 Feb 11
    10:06 am

  150. I might have amnesia – were they ever good at what they did?

  151. Diggy Dunne
    10 Feb 11
    3:48 pm

  152. I think amnesia has got amnesia!

  153. A Current Client
    23 Feb 11
    2:30 pm

  154. I’m definitely late to this comment party but wanted to add my two cents. We are a current Amnesia client. Probably one of the few left. Are we happy? No. Have we been directly affected by the revolving door, yes. We currently have our main contact as a grad who we are basically training on the job.

    For us Amnesia was always four people Iain, Terry, Claire and to a lesser extent Bux. Iain was the creative genius, Terry was the business manager, Claire was the client person and Bux was media. Missing Terry and Claire and then Iain for a period ripped the heart out of Amnesia.

    I feel sorry for the Amnesiacs, I have held many of the current and particularly past staff in high regard. Carl is just one example of someone who I personally had the pleasure of working with in the past.

    Its sad what has happened to them. I was hoping that they had turned the corner late last year but its just got worse. Most of all as a client nobody seems to care about us any more, there seems to be a want to forget past mistakes and issues and assume that everything is normal.

    My advice to Amnesia, how about thinking about how we as clients are impacted. Publicis if your listening maybe its time for you to step in before this starts impacting your brand and not just the Amnesia brand.

  155. mumbrella
    23 Feb 11
    4:14 pm

  156. Note: I’ve checked the IP address of this comment and it does come from a company on the record as an Amnesia client.


    Tim – Mumbrella