Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bald Logo. The bald truth.


I had a lot of angry friends and colleagues calling me this month.

“YOU NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER!!!”

It appears an idea I once came up with has gone worldwide.
It’s been getting GLOBAL recognition.
Only, I haven’t received a single ounce of credit for it.

It is now a few weeks later and I have been lying VERY low. Trying to push emotion aside and act rationally. Wondering how I should approach a situation where I have been completely dismissed.

If there are lawyers to get involved, that to me is secondary at this very moment.

Now, this whole story may sound like sour grapes but as a friend of mine pointed out, it would be impossible for it NOT to.

Lying awake, staring at the ceiling trying to figure out my options, I have decided that what I want at this moment is for people to hear the truth.

It’s not because I’m bitter. I’m well past that.
It’s not about me speaking up because my ego was bruised.
It’s because, as a self-proclaimed “creative industry advocate”, I believe it’s my duty.

It’s because as a professional advertising creative director and designer, I believe in intellectual property rights.
I believe the creator of an idea should be given his proper dues.
I believe business is all about personal integrity.

This is what my parents have instilled in me and this is what the business world has taught me.
Personal integrity means everything.

With this said, here is the story…

Back in 2008, I was busy creating a bunch of promotions for a few different ad agencies and I decided to open a unique company. I was going to put advertising on bald human heads.
I named this company “Bald Media”...

http://ronnielebow.blogspot.ca/2009/10/bald-mediaa-new-launch.html

In 2009, “The Canadian Poker Expo” was coming to town and they were looking for vendors. I thought of a poker pro I had played with and befriended that year (at the WSOP in Las Vegas) who had recently opened an online, virtual poker training institute, and I believed my hired head models would be an amazing and unique way to promote his business at the show.
I decided to pitch him the idea.

I teamed up with an amazingly talented airbrush artist named Josh Andrews (Hi Josh), and we did a test run for 2 promotional videos.
One to show off the idea…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-Wfsuywl4c

and one to pitch the poker pro/potential client (be sure to take note of the name)…


He didn’t buy into it. But it appeared he liked the concept.
At this very moment, it appears in his public Facebook photo album...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1058631325794&set=a.1058631005786.8817.1826240023&type=3&theater

(If that goes missing, I’ll be sure to provide a screenshot).


EDIT May 2013: Of course they had it removed. Here's the screenshot....




The online videos I made for the pitch and my request for bald models on an employment website got discovered and I ended up making quite a bit of national press (here is one of them featuring the poker pro’s logo on my head)…

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/marketing/bold-bald-statements/article4297378

I pushed the concept to a few large corporations in North America and although there was some interest, the recession in 2009 had hit many marketing budgets pretty hard and they weren’t ready to spend the additional money. They were all trimming the fat.
I did however, hookup with one company who wanted me to come out to California etc. to see if it could fly.  With 2 young children at home, I wasn’t about to start flying across the country to launch a start-up in another city during one of the worst economies in my lifetime.

That year came and went, and I have been busy since then with my work as a freelance creative director.
I put the idea into my back pocket.

The Canadian Website Domain Registry decided to change a whole bunch of their rules (and I was getting annoying non-stop reminders from them about it) so I eventually let the website go (quite recently in fact, I’m guessing at the beginning of this year).
The truth is that I really didn’t feel I needed the website.
Corporations were not online SEEKING such a promotion.

I believe that a promotion of this nature needs to be kept unique. You need the right client, at the right moment and the right event to make it successful. Unleashing it on the masses for anybody and everybody just cheapens the medium and makes it quickly boring. “Oh look, there’s another guy with a logo on his head… Next!”

I wasn’t looking to have people walk around the city with ads on their head for “Joe’s air conditioning repair”. That’s not the clientele I wanted.
Also, a brand can be affected by the actions of the models that are hired.
How the models act in public would be completely my responsibility.
I made sure to screen each and every single model/candidate on my roster to see if they could represent a major brand in a respectable fashion.

I did however, have the right opportunity present itself when a journalist called to bring in my service for his charity fundraiser...

http://www.torontosun.com/news/columnists/mike_strobel/2009/11/13/11731991-sun.html

Flash forward to a few weeks ago.

I was at my desk drinking my morning coffee, and I opened my email to find an industry newsletter to which I subscribe.
At the same time, my phone started to ring.

On my screen was a guy making international news for an AMAZING, ORIGINAL, and UNIQUE idea he came up with...

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/using-his-head-as-a-bald-billboard

Once I saw the name attached my mouth literally hung open.

To make matters worse (and what has TRULY horrified me) is that he is taking FULL CREDIT for coming up with the idea.

I don’t need to post any links to these claims. You can easily find them yourself.
Just start with his company website.

Recently, some angry designers etc. that follow my blog (and who remember the press I got way back) have begun commenting on his videos etc. and brought some attention to the origin of HIS great idea...

https://www.facebook.com/ModernSalon/posts/380194515407472

Their comments have been quickly and continuously erased from his YouTube videos and I'm guessing this is the reason why the question of where the idea originated are now being skipped.
Like, for example, on live Australian television…

http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/-/watch/31288814/cashing-in-on-baldness

The company video on YouTube now sits at over a quarter of a million hits and he’s being hailed worldwide as a creative genius.
Original and unique.

It even got mentioned on the ELLEN show, and one female blogger actually offered to be his girlfriend...

http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-11-30/be-my-boyfriend-guy-who-rents-his-bald-head-as-ad-space

Now, I must admit, the video is well done.
He also took the PR to a MUCH higher level than I did.
This work is actually commendable.

But after being in the advertising industry for over 20 years this is what I see…

I see a guy who walks into a creative director’s office with a portfolio full of ads that aren’t his.

I see a guy who strolls up to the podium to receive an award for somebody else’s idea and then pats himself on the back for it.

You are allowed to make money as a competitor. As they say, imitation is flattery.
But as a creative professional, it’s the idea that is respected.
Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if the idea flies. That’s just a bonus.
That’s why some award shows have a “Best idea never produced” category.

As an art director, if I win an award in this business and a copywriter helped to come up with the concept, their name ALSO goes on the award. So does the account person who helped sell it. So does the client who actually had the balls to buy it.

It’s only right.
It’s only fair.

That’s what people with integrity do.
They give people their proper dues.

I’m glad I got that off my chest.

And I will from this night forward sleep soundly because I believe deep down in the back of my mind that karma is an absolute bitch.



4 comments:

Robert Smyth said...

I can't believe Brandon Chicotsky claimed or even suggested that it was his idea. Anyone who takes credit for someone else's idea has got to be a real slimeball.

Heidi Ehlers said...

Good for you. ~ heidi

Anonymous said...

I was lame enough to intern for Brandon Chicotsky, Bald Logo and his numerous other start-ups. He's a rich, Mama's boy fraud, who's main goals in life is to be rich & famous.
All of his companies are a sham to make him appear like some sort of marketing, business man-genius, when in-fact none of his start-ups actually make money nor actually employs anyone other than the freelancer he hires to make videos.

His web-site design company is a fraud, he uses wix.com.

I interned for Brandon in hopes of eventually getting a job, but came to realize he does not believe in doing free work or even offering advice for free, yet has at least 7 interns working for free for him and his start-ups.

I originally conceived the internship with Bald Logo would help me learn valuable and real-world business skills, my main job was to read his emails, occasionally reading some aloud to him. I even had the duty of reading the emails in the spam folder:(

Brandon relies on internet trends and memes to help devise his strategies and arranges meeting with a local politician everyday.

Brandon is very charming and makes excellent first impressions, but after getting to know or working for him he directly tells you about what a liar he is and lies on a daily basis to everyone. He once dictated to me an email to send to his Mother telling about what he's been up to, and it was all lies and exaggerations, except for the going to the gym part.

Anonymous said...

This is Brandon's former intern again. Brandon is living-proof of corruption. A reflection of a failed system, where what is good the people is no longer important and replaced with individual quests for money and power. He plans to enter politics one-day, so watch out, not only will there be corruption, but also sexual scandals!

Brandon Chicotsky sold Bald Logo to his Uncle. Which is just a scam to make him and his start-up appear like a success story and earn Brandon high-paying jobs.