LL Bean Drops JWT, Turns Dean Gemmell Into A Prophet

From Adweek:

JWT is splitting with L.L. Bean, 14 months after the WPP Group shop landed creative duties on the brand, the agency confirmed.
JWT in New York produced one TV spot for the client but little else as the client spent less than expected, said sources.

I distinctly recall how our friend Dean Gemmell at Black Lab Five knew the pitch process was a clusterfuck all along when he contacted consultants at Pile & Company during the review:

“You see,” I said, “I think Martin-Williams is a fine agency. I think Mullen before them is a fine agency that did plenty of fine ads. So it seems to me that L.L. Bean may not really need an ad agency that makes money by producing lots of ads. Perhaps instead of herding together another flock of agencies (Crispin! Get Crispin in this thing, dammit!) to pitch the business, you should talk to your client about handling their business in a different way. Maybe they’re just not right for an agency relationship.”
Nadira, who I must stress once again was most lovely and polite, responded to my volley with the usual talk of integration needs and scope and so forth. Then she invited me to add our agency to their agency directory called Agency Compile. Which, of course, I was unable to do because I refuse to use Internet Explorer and wondered how a search firm in an industry dominated by Apple could insist on IE compatibility for a site.

So LL Bean moves on after 14 months. No surprise to Dean, I’m sure.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Well yes, all pitches are clusterfucks, but when they are run by Pile & Company you know they are going to end up as GIANT clusterfucks… As I’ve said in the past, any client that needs a search consultant to help them find an agency wouldn’t know good advertising if it hit them over the head… And so they deserve what they end up with… Meanwhile, the search consultant gets their fee and goes on to do it all over… Probably for the same client in a couple of years! What a scam!

  2. “integration needs and scope and so forth… blah-blah-blah”
    I know! Let LL Bean USERS start creating refreshing and compelling advertising on their own, and then submit it for consideration at llbeanieweenies.com.
    HURRY! The url is available!