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The Ad Exec Behind That Live Sex Act at Northwestern University

Digital ad agency Tribal DDB in Chicago has an interesting management dilemma right now: To fire or ignore its group creative director, Jim Marcus, who used a machine-powered sex toy on his fiance in front of 100 students at a Northwestern University class on "Human Sexuality." Northwestern is "investigating" the incident, which has generated headlines worldwide.

Part of the problem is that Marcus is fanning these headlines by posing with his fiance for photographs in the Chicago Sun-Times.

It's not that Marcus's actions in any way reflect on the agency (it was outside work time). Rather, it's that it will be very difficult for anyone working with Marcus to get this description of the lecture out of their heads:
Faith Kroll, the woman who stripped, was laying down...When she arrived, she thought she just would be answering students' questions and showing off sex toys they brought, including whips, paddles and a clown wig.
An "absurd, clinical" video and subsequent discussion about various aspects of female orgasm led Faith and her partner Jim Marcus, 45, to prove to the class that female orgasm is real.
"One of the students asked what my specific fetish was and mine is being in front of people, having the attention and being used," she said. "The students seemed really intrigued."
Because Tribal DDB, a unit of Omnicom (OMC), does digital work it has a lot of trendy clients like Reebok and Volkswagen who probably won't care about Marcus' extracurricular life. But it also has some rather more conservative clients, such as Cadbury, McDonald's and Clorox who will likely be less amused.

Now, any time Marcus has a meeting with a client or goes to a new business pitch, the unspoken question on everyone's lips will be, "Aren't you the guy with the clown wig and the sex toy?" It's a memorable positioning, that's for sure.

Marcus defended his actions to BNET (see full statement in comments section below):

The tone of your article seems to suggest that I should be ashamed of what I did, without giving me a chance to even explain WHAT I did. You float the idea that I should not have posed for pictures while running pictures of me pulled from facebook. You admit that what I did was outside work but insist that people SHOULD somehow think about the sex act when considering me in pitches, meetings, etc. from now on, as though the rest of advertising were composed entirely of virginal people.
Related: Images of Marcus and Kroll via Facebook.
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