Even Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations Should Apologize When They Are Wrong: An Open Letter to Adecco to #makeitright


First of all, I wanted to let everyone know that I am not in open negotiations with Adecco. They have not reached out to me since my last post highlighting this important issue went public last Thursday.  Second, I do not support or endorse any of the deeply negative or aggressive comments that are out there about you — clearly this issue is important to a lot of people which is why there continues to be a growing concern. The issue for me is about morals, about integrity, about corporate social responsibility 2.0, so to speak. The message deserves to be spread, but spread in a civil, thoughtful and constructive way.

When I first approached you on May 20th and asked you to stop using my brand, I asked a simple question: “Where did you get the name and brand ‘Around the World in 80 Jobs?’” I have yet to receive a direct response.  When you tried to explain your campaign to me, you said it was really all about “Corporate Social Responsibility” and was an “initiative” to help the youngsters out there looking for hope in a jobless world. But let’s be honest, your entire business model is based on employing people  — which is great — but you are not a non-profit. Call it what it is: a marketing campaign that increases your visibility, drives new leads, and garners attention on social media.

So you made a mistake. We all do. The thing is, you didn’t take responsibility for it, and that’s what has made it worse. Maybe it was an ad agency that pitched, wrote, and developed the campaign — I don’t know. Ultimately, only you were responsible for doing the due diligence and signing off on it. The only honest and fair course of action was to reach out to me before you went forward with your campaign. You didn’t. I may look like a small travel blogger to you, but big ideas can come from the smallest places, and all entrepreneurship has to start somewhere.

turner barr david vs golliath1 Even Multi Billion Dollar Corporations Should Apologize When They Are Wrong: An Open Letter to Adecco to #makeitright

I contacted you in a gentlemanly manner and with a positive attitude, offering many ways to make it right. You refused to offer me compensation or even acknowledge that my brand was the basis of your campaign. To this day, you still have not taken responsibility. You spent 4 weeks stringing me along, making and rescinding offers, then sent me a contract that gave you everything and me nothing.  So I decided to leave Thailand and fly to New York to get advice from friends and be on a more level playing field. Only then did you take me seriously.  When I reached New York, you offered to compensate me, but not for my work or for the use of my brand. In my eyes, your offer amounted to paying me to stay silent, rather than paying me for my hard work. That, and it was too little too late.

When I recount this tale to family, colleagues, or my friends on the Internet, everyone sees the painfully obvious: It is clearly my brand you are using.  Many people, including your representatives in our last phone discussion, suggest that I go to a lawyer and settle affairs via legal channels. But I’m not going to play your legal game, especially when it means I have to stay silent. It allows you to skirt responsibility and no one can learn from your mistake.  I still believe that you can make it right and admit you were wrong. Recently, Kickstarter, a popular crowdfunding platform made a mistake. But instead of ignoring it or fighting it, they graciously accepted their misstep and made it right. They also made a contribution to charity.

If you really want to help youngsters and give them hope for jobs in this world, you should start from a place of responsibility and encourage entrepreneurship by supporting the actual entrepreneur that inspired you — that’s the ethical course.  Own up to your mistake, and we’ll all move on and make something positive.

You mentioned in your press release that you were looking for “common ground,” even though you haven’t contacted me once since I posted to my blog on Thursday. But if it’s true, I suggest the following:

1 – Apologize for your mistake, and take responsibility

2- Compensate me the same amount that you paid your advertising firm for the Around the World in 80 Jobs marketing initiative that was built off of the back of my work. From my understanding, this was about $50,000.

3- Cease and desist using my brand name Around the World in 80 Jobs and drop the trademarks that you are pursuing.

4 – Donate $50,000 to Save Elephant Foundation (a nonprofit dedicated to providing care and assistance to captive elephants) to prove your commitment to bringing awareness to social responsibility. This organization and its founder, Lek Chailert, are true examples of social responsibility and an inspiration to us all. I had the opportunity to work with the elephants and Lek and she really inspires me as she fights a lot of big vested interests in Thailand and Southeast Asia and pursues what she believes is right despite fierce opposition.  A $50,000 donation would along way in showing you are committed to being socially responsible, more than merely throwing a contest with prizes.

around the world elephant blog Even Multi Billion Dollar Corporations Should Apologize When They Are Wrong: An Open Letter to Adecco to #makeitright

I believe this is a reasonable course of action. So rather than getting involved in legal disputes that help no one and only create more anger, let’s turn this mess into a positive and support some great causes. If you do this, you would be making it right in my book and I will never hold a grudge — we can part ways amicably.

And lastly, I am launching an IndieGoGo campaign to help support my Around the World in 80 Jobs project to keep it alive. If you believe that ideas are important and want to support entrepreneurship, please get involved and help spread this important message: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-me-keep-around-the-world-in-80-jobs-alive-and-inspiring-others

Sincerely,

Turner Christopher Barr

Creator & Founder of AroundtheWorldin80Jobs.com

About Turner

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

71 Responses to Even Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations Should Apologize When They Are Wrong: An Open Letter to Adecco to #makeitright

  1. Alexa Hart June 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    Great post. Really like your positivity, Turner. I think your requests are fair and need to be considered. Good luck!

  2. Edna June 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    I agree with Alexa, way to be the better man here Turner. Best of luck, you know we’re all rooting for you!

  3. DJ Yabis | Dream Euro Trip June 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    You’ve been wronged and you’re still so nice to offer up solutions to them who until now has been lying and skirting the issue. They should consider your request and make it right. We’re all here to support you.

  4. chinamatt June 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    It’s time for corporations to act responsibly. You’re acting a lot nicer than I would (of course, I’ve also spent time working with lawyers).

  5. Dave June 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Way to keep it positive!

  6. Helen June 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Well said Turner! We’re all behind you!

  7. Giulia June 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    I’ve been following this story and the updates on your page and Adecco’s one in the last day and I can only imagine how it must feel for you. It’s crazy!
    But I am glad to see you are getting a lot of support from the blogging community and I am sure you will get the replies (and apologies I hope!) you are asking for.
    You’re not alone:)

  8. Mike's Road Trip June 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Hey Turner, a lot of us have spoken out on your behalf. I hope a positive outcome is in the near future. Keep up the good fight.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  9. Stephen June 24, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Turner,
    You’re a true gentleman and your terms are beyond reasonable. For a company that supposedly supports youth employment that then steals an entire brand from youth is mind boggling. God speed man.

  10. Captain and Clark June 24, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

    I got goosebumps! I love that you’re trying to spin this into something positive and donating to a very special cause! We’re all rooting for you!

  11. Lakbay Diva June 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    we are with you on this one!

  12. Janice June 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    ADECCO is missing the boat Turner is a World Travel Blogger on a mission to work 80 jobs around the world. ADECCO has stated that he can have his brand name in the United States. ADECCO has trademarked his brand name in other countries around the world. What part of that makes sense? Turner is working toward the goal of working 80 job around the world. Let’s me say it this way ADECCO , Turner is an international traveler working in other countries. He has no rights to his brand in the international countries in which he is working. That is unacceptable. #MakeItRight #ADECCO

  13. Luca June 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    That is your point of view. No place here for their. I think you are clever or at least is my impression reading your post. First of all you are playing the victim role but there is a chance that they really have not taken the idea from you. Second you are asking for 50000 dollars, so all the money they paid for the campaign but come on the idea is just one part all the technical aspects are stealed from you too? So i think you reasonably asked them explanation but all this “you are a bad company” and “i dont want to take money to be silent” is not going well with “give me 50000 bucks”… you just want money as much as they don’t want to give money to you. So accepting their offer would have been your best choice. Anyway i respect your point of view and your way to see things and i wish you good luck with your amazing way to live life. Have a nice day!

    • Shannon June 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      - They used the same name in their campaign and now show up ahead of him in Google search results.
      - They cast an actor that looks and acts like him.
      - He is a victim.
      - Cover bands don’t make the same amount that an original band does. Whoever received the money to create this campaign (the “cover band”) shouldn’t be paid more than Turner (the “original band”).

    • AC June 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      You must not run a business, if you are so willing to try to disregard evidence of intellectual property theft. I find your comments quite improbable.

      Or maybe you do run a business, the one under discussion…

      • JC June 25, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

        I believe that, in the US at least, one is innocent until proven guilty. You should follow legal recourse if you want all that you are asking. If you choose not to deal with lawyers because it will just make you silent then that is your problem. Honestly, it’s not like your idea and branding are original. It’s only a play on an extremely famous classical piece of literature. The play on words has only been done over and over. You’re not the first to travel around the world and work in any sense…and you aren’t the first to blog about it…you’re not even the first to want a show about working at different jobs. You did not file Trademark. When it comes down to it…this problem that you find yourself in is all your own fault. If you had such lofty dreams then you should have taken action to protect yourself. I don’t believe Adecco owes you anything. I’m not the only one who believes that. It’s simply a matter of those who yell the loudest.

        • Bobby Ganoush June 25, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

          I’m sure your not the only one to believe Adecco owes him nothing. I bet your cube mate at Addeco feels the same way.

          You want him to take legal action because Adecco will never win the social media war, but in court deep pockets are quite the advantage.

  14. Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) June 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Keep it up Turner. Just donated for you, buddy!

  15. Rafael Marquez June 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    I understand the whole “be positive” thing, but in reality, if you want any company, specially a Fortune 500 company to “do the right thing” you have to hit them hard with litigation. It’s the only language they understand. Make them a precedent, take them all the way to the Supreme Court if you have to and make them pay out the nose. Once they are made an example of, then Volt Temporary Services, or some other company won’t feel compelled to steal some other blogger’s brand and identity. The other option, is to register your trademarks and copyrights. I’m sure you can easily show that you have prior art and can invalidate their claims to YOUR work.

  16. Rachelle June 24, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Well spoken! I’ll share this as much as I can until they #MakeItRight

  17. wanderingeducators June 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Bravo. #MakeItRight. Pulling for you!

  18. Turner June 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Well said. Good luck to you.

  19. Sarah Somewhere June 24, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    A well thought out, fair proposal, methinks. I have been to the Elephant nature park and you’re right, Lek is amazing! All the best on your mission to #makeitright and I certainly hope that this attention puts your blog in good stead for the future (though I know that is not the issue at hand here).

  20. Philip June 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    It is great that you are taking the high road despite being grievously wronged. Stay the course. We support you.

  21. Meg Chamberlain June 24, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    YaY for the (not so) little guy!!! Adecco should be ashamed of their actions and even more ashamed at their childish (non) response. I’m just starting out as a traveler/blogger and Around The World in 80 Jobs has been an inspiration to me and my journey. You, your blog, your stories, your brand…. That is what inspired me, and now this David and Goliath story to boot!

    Continue to fight this battle, you have the support of many.
    -M

  22. Save Elephant Foundation June 24, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Thank you so much, Turner, for supporting our foundation during this stressful time for yourself. We greatly appreciate the awareness you are helping to raise, and would be extremely grateful if Adecco does come through. $50,000 could help provide not only the purchase of more land for the elephants we currently have, but also allow for us to rescue those in serious need around the country.

  23. Jeremy Branham June 25, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    You are a better man than me! Good luck with this Turner. In this day and age, it’s laughable that a corporation could do this and get away with it.

  24. Bobbi Lee Hitchon June 25, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    This is fantastic! I really can’t believe that they’re just ignoring this completely. It’s sad.

  25. Andy June 25, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    Well stated, we are all in your corner and have your back. I will be sharing this tale on my social media. We should make a positive example out of this situation as if we allow things like this to occur in our society, where will it go next?
    #makeitright!!

  26. Jaryd @ Aus Globetrotter June 25, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Keep fighting, I don’t need to tell you that persistence is important because your doing it well, keep it up!

  27. gabebritto June 25, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    I’ve just shared your story with a big Brazilian travel blogger’s community. I hope you will get more supporters from here. =) Good luck!

  28. Jason | BodesWell June 25, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Good Luck!

  29. Madaboutravel June 25, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Great attitude! Show them how to make it right, Turner ;)

  30. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com June 25, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    We’re all behind you, Turner! Let this be a lesson to other potential Adeccos out there. They can’t expect to treat us like this and expect to get away with it!

  31. Gerry June 25, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    Disgraceful carry on by Adecco, but I can’t say I am at all surprised. Well done on standing up for what’s right. Adecco – its time to do the right thing.

  32. D June 25, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    I understand but this whole time you did not have your brand trademarked? Unfortunately, that is how people get what they start ruined my multinational corporations. Absolutely, Adecco is in the wrong here. However, I think you learned a valuable lesson- ALWAYS trademark what you work hard for. Business 101.

    • Jenneil Parks June 25, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      Yes… and every blogger has a couple grand lying around to TM their blogs and brand…

      • JC June 25, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

        That is beside the point.

        • Geoff June 27, 2013 at 8:23 am #

          Dear JC.

          Since the original reply summarises the error as Business 101, it would be fair to consider the cost to a startup of trade marking their brand (not to mention the cost of defending it in court).

          Miss Parks’ comment is precisely on point.

          To elaborate, Trademarks and Patents are created by big corporations to protect big corporations. Countless patent lawsuits rage between the mobile operators and handset providers – it’s not largely not about protecting creativity its about slowing down the competition.

          Geoff

  33. Kelly June 25, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Way to go!! I love how you handled this situation!

  34. flip June 25, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    great post and what a positive tone on your post even after all the stuff that happened. hope this concern gets resolved soon.

  35. dimitri visser June 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Turner, we are with you on this! I just spend several hours making comments on Adecco’s Facebook pages, sending Twitter messages and making lots of noise. We will make this a PR nightmare for them. Wish you all the best!

  36. Roy Marvelous June 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I may not agree with the Indiegogo campaign idea but I hope this all works out in your favor. Good luck mate.

  37. Elle of Solo Female Nomad June 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Consider your story shared! Adecco is so wrong on this, this is an excellent opportunity to show these “big” companies that they cannot walk all over the smaller ones. Most often than not the “one man bands” have put far more effort and sweat into their work.

  38. Hanakimi June 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I appreciate your gentlemanly attitude but by making a donation in their own name, they can just take a 50k tax deduction.

  39. Colton June 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    Wow.

    I just read what happened to you. Turner, what they did was messed up! But it was that negative press that brought me to your blog. You’ve done some amazing things! I’m glad I found your site now and I’ll definitely keep checking in on how this whole thing plays out.

    Keep your chin up!

    They hired an “actor”. You’re the real thing!

  40. Sally@Toddlers on Tour June 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Hi,

    I have just learnt about this and am appalled for you and for what all bloggers can encounter.
    I know that you are in for a long, lengthy costly fight.

    Please know that all bloggers are with you as you are fighting for us all.

    PS I am sharing your story.

  41. Stephanie June 26, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    Of course they’re only going to give you hush money. What did you think, they’d pay you $100,000 and let you slag off their company in public. The idea for your blog is a good one, but you have to admit, it’s hardly something that no one else could think up. You should have taken the money while it was there.

  42. tc June 26, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    I would love to see you win this in the court of public opinion instead of having to hire expensive lawyers. Good luck with your battle and keep strong!

  43. IndianaJo June 26, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    I was shocked when I saw your post a few days ago and then I went offline. Am I right to think that things are slowly being resolved? Hope so, but most of all I hope the elephants get their money! Dealing with lawyers and all that stuff isn’t fun (I know – I used to be one before I quit to travel), but hope you get the compensation and resolution you’re after. Keep up the fight.

  44. Raph June 26, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Keep up the good work and stay on the road!

    Don’t let them get to you. I’m glad to hear you are doing ok!

  45. Tyrhone June 26, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    I think perhaps you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. I can understand your frustration at having something you were working on be superseded by something more popular, but as someone else here said, you are not the first person to come up with the phrase “around the world in 80…_. You were just better at marketing it than the guy before you. Also the company is using it for a short term campaign which will likely finish and then disappear. If your brand was and is poised for bigger things then surely a short term competition is not that big a deal.

    Lastly, asking for $50 000 for yourself, having a campaign to raise money for yourself, and then adding that they should also give some to the elephants, that seems to be an attempt at playing people to me.

    I have no doubt it is frustrating to have people come up with similar ideas to you, but it is not that original of an idea. 2 people came up with the theory of evolution at the same time, one became famous one didn’t. That is the world we live in.

    Anyway congrats on the publicity this whole situation has brought you, perhaps you should be paying Adecco a fee for doing your advertising for you?

  46. Carol June 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Great positive message here and impressed that, even in all this stress, you’re ensuring a precious place like Elephant Nature Park is getting support. Good on you! We have been happy to support you through this mess.

  47. Tina June 30, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    Well done friend!

  48. Laurel- Capturing la Vita July 2, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    SO incredibly proud of how much passion you put into this. May you continue to inspire…

  49. Jesse Weinberg July 7, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Well done!

  50. traveling crone July 18, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    Turner, just found out from Lek’s FB posting about the $50,000 you scored for her and her elephants at ( http://www.saveelephant.org/ ) Elephant Nature Park. I want to add my heart felt appreciation for what you have done for our (I think anyone who has spent time with those splendid creatures all see them as “ours”) elephants. Well done! <3

  51. Andrew July 26, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    Hi, man! You’re doing a right thing! Adeco should apologize at least and reject the stolen idea. And they should have paid you for steeling your ideas as well. Good luck!

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