From A City Of Idealists Comes An Agency With Attitude

According to Ad Age, Shine Advertising of Madison, Wisconsin, could not simultaneously meet Bob Parson’s creative demands and live with themselves.

A little more than a month after winning the account, independent Shine Advertising has resigned, citing irreconcilable creative differences.
The shop also renounced responsibility for the GoDaddy work that will appear during the Super Bowl.

What might have Shine been thinking when they landed this account? Were they thinking that their unique powers of persuasion would move Parsons to a new place? It certainly looks that way.
Brands have DNA. DNA doesn’t change because a new agency is on the account. Yet, agency executives consistently make the error of believing they have the secret formula that will, in fact, allow for radical change. The arrogance of it all makes me recoil.
Speaking of arrogance, here’s a bit of copy from Shine’s website:

We hate advertising. Actually, we hate what the advertising industry has become. A river of mediocrity—her slopes, slippery—her current, swift. Think about it. When was the last time your agency brought you a big idea? Not just a great ad, but an idea that made your socks go up and down. Day to day, scores of agencies deliver safe, least common denominator thinking, all in the name of preserving the client-agency relationship. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. And we think it sucks (pardon our French).
So we did what everyone says they’re gonna do. We started an agency. A different kind of agency. A place where conventional thinking is challenged. A place where the idea is king. A place where advertising just might get born anew.

Shine doesn’t just want to alter the DNA of its clients’ brands, it wants to reinvent advertising. At one time I might have enjoyed the youthful enthusiasm in this copy. Now, I think it’s over-reaching, if not ridiculous.

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. daveednyc says:

    In addition to over-reaching, it’s also not original. Every indy ad shop out there presents the same positioning: “everything sucks: the agencies, the clients, the work, bla blah. But we’re different. Hire us!” I’ve heard it a million times, and I had to peddle it a million more times working for indies in the past.
    As for why Shine took the account in the first place. Hey, they probably thought it was a great chance to do some high-exposure work for a client that apparently doesn’t mind taking risks. I guess they didn’t like the direction the client wanted to go in. Too low-brow, perhaps, judging by past stuff.
    But I do tip my hat to Shine for getting out early on, unlike other relationships that go sour long before anyone has the courage to break it off.

  2. Courage and conviction they have. Hopefully, they have deep pockets to match.

  3. Let’s wait till they have work posted. Only the work can speak in our business.

  4. Pardon me while I yawn. As Daveednyc puts it, we’ve heard this shit over and over from start ups. We even hear it from BDA’s. Last year J. Walter Thompson renamed themselves “JWT” Wow, that’ll shake things up. Then they issued a “Manifesto” (GROAN) in which they claimed they were no longer ad people, they were now “Anthroplogists.” And they were here to “Listen” to clients. If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would be laughable. No wonder this business is screwed!

  5. After seeing this, I can see why Shine had to resign the account:

  6. Gert Williams says:

    from the CEO of GoDaddy’s blog.
    A word about Shine Advertising.
    Monday, The Shine Advertising Co. sent a news release to the media to the effect that they dropped the Go Daddy account as a result of “irreconcilable creative differences.” Reading this gave me a chuckle. The fact is Shine was hired by Go Daddy only to do the creative concepts for some of the ads we produce.
    Our ads – all of them – are produced always by our own production company – Go Daddy Productions. We never use and never intended to use any advertising firm to produce our ads.
    We signed a termination agreement with Shine on December 22nd. So our relationship with Shine has been over for quite some time. The relationship didn’t end yesterday, or the day before like Shine’s press release might lead one to believe.
    I understand Shine’s desire to spin the end of our deal sharply in their favor. At the end of the day however, only one fact matters: Our business relationship is over.

  7. Jim Cheever says:

    Given the “marketing” expertise of the GoDaddy staff and the so-called “quality” of the GoDaddy’s ads, I’d say the “conclusion” of any business relationship is no big loss to Shine Advertising.
    If GoDaddy considers their ads to reflect the quality of their domain name services, then I for one am inclined to NOT use GoDaddy.

  8. Mark Withrow says:

    I have to laugh when I read over these dated comments from some of you “pros” in the ad game, who sneered at Bob Parsons back in the day. His so-called “low-brow” in-house ad campaign (designed by the ol’ Marine himself) resulted in an increase to 44% total market share (up from only 13%) for GoDaddy. That’s what really scares the crap out of all of you: the fact that your total irrelevance as an industry has been so shockingly exposed. Sorry you “can’t handle the REAL TRUTH”…
    I never knew so many self-important dildoes actually existed in the world until I starting working with ad agencies…