Advertising guru Gerry Farrell suspended over Steve Cardownie ‘incredinburgh’ tweets

Gerry Farrell, creative director of the Leith Agency
Gerry Farrell, creative director of the Leith Agency
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THE creative boss of an advertising agency that came up with controversial marketing slogans for Edinburgh has been suspended from his job after an acrimonious public spat with a senior councillor.

Leith Agency guru Gerry

Farrell posted a string of attacks on Twitter in the space of

24 hours, targeting Edinburgh City Council deputy leader Steve


Mr Farrell – the man behind the firm’s winter ad campaign which includes the slogan “incredinburgh” – accused Mr Cardownie of leaking to the media details about the authority’s displeasure with several campaign slogans.

Mr Farrell, who created Irn-Bru’s iconic television adverts, labelled Mr Cardownie “Steve Carbootsale” and “King Cobra” on the social networking site. Leith Agency group managing partner Richard Marsham said Mr Farrell was suspended from his position as creative director yesterday afternoon.

The festive promotional drive tendered out by Marketing

Edinburgh has been criticised for using phrases such as “incredinburgh” and “painthetownredinburgh”.

Mr Cardownie, who has been an outspoken critic of the £300,000 winter ad campaign, said ahead of Mr Farrell’s suspension that he was disappointed the marketing man had descended into “gratuitous personal insults”.

He declined to comment on the suspension yesterday, saying only that Edinburgh would be “bursting at the seams” with people over Christmas and

New Year.

Mr Marsham said: “Gerry was expressing opinions which were not opinions of the Leith Agency and what started off – and this has been ongoing for the last seven days – as a very professional defence of the Marketing Edinburgh campaign in our views had strayed quite dramatically from professional defence into a personal insult against the councillor, which we in no way condoned.

“We wanted to take very swift action on it, really, to show how unhappy we were with Gerry’s conduct.”

Mr Marsham added: “Gerry of all people should know that what you say on Twitter is very much in the public domain.

“Therefore, he should always be aware that he needs to represent the interests of the agency and not express his own personal views.”

Mr Farrell did not return calls from The Scotsman yesterday. His future at the company will be determined by an internal review.

Leith Agency stressed the suspension was “temporary”, with plans to meet Mr Farrell next week

Mr Marsham said: “Gerry’s a very sort of emotional character. He’s put his heart and soul into the campaign. I think if you read a lot of what he’s said about it, he’s a passionate believer in the campaign, as the agency is.

“He was upset, but fully under­standing of our position. He said, ‘You’re right. I crossed the line’.”

A council spokeswoman said the authority would not comment on the internal affairs of the Leith Agency.

A statement from Marketing Edinburgh said: “We believe that Edinburgh’s new campaign will help to deliver a successful winter for the city’s businesses, shops, events and attractions, and look forward to the tele­vision ad being shown from

this weekend.”.