Chuckin’ The Chucks

The Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.) takes a look at several agencies that have recently walked away from fickle but lucrative accounts. Here’s a quick view of one high profile move.

Last week, Sausalito, Calif., independent Butler Shine Stern & Partners parted ways with Nike’s Converse, a client of about three years’ standing. Winning the Converse account in 2004 was an important win for the agency, says Butler Chief Executive Greg Stern: It sparked a hot streak that included capturing business from BMW’s Mini, Sun Microsystems and Butler developed a Converse TV campaign that used short films from people the agency contacted through film schools, Web sites and design shops.
But when the agency and client couldn’t come to terms over compensation and creative direction, the agency decided that meeting Converse’s terms wasn’t worth it, Mr. Stern adds, even though it wanted to keep the account. He says Converse had “changing needs” and was interested in using agencies for project work rather than tapping a single agency of record. “To the extent that they were moving to a project basis, it would not cover the cost of time of our staff,” says Mr. Stern.

Not to mention the cost of the agency’s Sausalito office space.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. theo kie says:

    And so goes the self-induced idea that a single, agency partner maybe doesn’t have the wherewithall to produce ownable, singular campaign ideas while consumers (or other agencies) can come up with individual, spot-based efforts.
    We continue to be our own, worst enemies.
    BTW, I have a really cool idea for a Converse spot! Who has the CMO’s e-mail address? My rates are really cheap, and I own a digital camera, whether I know anything about the business or not….