Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Shift in Control - Agencies Letting Go of Clients

Recently, there's been a growing trend in the complicated world of client/agency relationships. Agencies that once held onto their clients with clenched fists are now re-thinking partnerships that may have soured since first taking on the account.

From today's WSJ: "Increasingly, ad agencies are choosing to sever relationships with marketers, rather than waiting to be ousted or participating in expensive reviews. Butler Shine Stern & Partners recently took a walk from the Converse athletic shoe account, Crispin Porter + Bogusky called it a day with Miller Lite and Cramer-Krasselt resigned the CareerBuilder.com business, rather than defend the account in a review."

This last one as most people know, came after CareerBuilder's new TV spot didn't rate highly enough on the "favorite Super Bowl commercial list", despite years of enormous success building the brand.

Everyone wants to have a good relationship with their clients, that's a given, but it's nice to see that when these relationships stop becoming mutually beneficial, agencies are beginning to recognize it and walk away. It's not easy, especially without an immediate new client to plug in, but sometimes it's necessary.

Once a particularly difficult (for whatever reason) agency/client relationship is severed, an agency can better focus its attentions on its other accounts without that constant stressor tugging at its sleeve. The client is better off too. They're free to find a new partner, better suited to their needs and with more synched up sensibilities.

Again, it flies in the face of what most agency folk have been taught through the years, but in the end, it's better for everyone to get that sour taste out of their mouths and look for something sweet again.

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