On July 9, employees at iconic advertising firm Ogilvy met with CEO John Seifert to demand answers about the company’s newly revealed work with US Customs and Border Protection
Below is a transcript of the meeting, based on a recording obtained by BuzzFeed News. It’s one of the most striking documents to emerge to illustrate the sharp new conflict, largely generational, between companies accustomed to working largely uncontroversially with the US government, and employees who expect even a public relations firm to carry a set of values.
Employee: I completely understand that this is very delicate and a situation that needs to be treated with a lot of diplomacy. Personally, I understand this because I have worked with the United Nations and I have also worked in the [inaudible] department, however, I ask you kindly to just consider that this is not just a run of the mill type of situation, this is not just another client, this is a government contract and there’s a confidentiality clause, but does that come at the expense of Ogilvy’s reputation, and at which point do the cost benefit analysis of how much do we lose in $12 million of potential revenue versus employee attrition versus reputation damage versus new business versus can we even deliver on this contract at this point?
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