Ad guru blames bloggers for demise

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The Independent Online

Neil French, the worldwide creative director at the advertising agency WPP, also attacked his chief critic, saying she had got her "knickers in a twist" over his reported comments.

"Women don't make it to the top because they don't deserve to - they're crap," Mr French reportedly said earlier this month in response to a question at an event in Toronto.

The comment prompted a barrage of e-mail complaints from female executives at WPP and internet blogs, according to reports. Mr French, whose cigar-chomping image has led to his nickname The Godfather, said: "It's death by blog, isn't it? You had to be there. I laugh a lot on stage and I say outrageous things, but people come to be entertained. They paid [£70] to sit there. If they wanted Martin Luther King, they went to the wrong gig.

"I'm well-known for being as outrageous as I can to make the point that I want to make. Advertising is hyperbole and I exercise hyperbole as much as I can, but I laugh when I'm doing it," he told a US magazine.

Nancy Vonk, a creative officer at WPP's Ogilvy & Mather in Toronto, branded his remarks as "outrageous" and "derogatory" on her blog.