Putting Your Ads Where The Money Is

I was a fan of Robert Shaw West, when he was running West + Vaughn, the Durham, NC hot shop. In 2001, West and some of his West + Vaughn cohorts refashioned themselves into The Republik, also in Durham. The small shop’s big point of difference is the fact that they tie their compensation to performance.

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. It’s all smoke and mirrors. They may say they tie compensation to performance, but they still find a way to get paid even when their clients’ sales go down the tubes. Trust me on this one.
    If you look closely at the work on their website, a lot of it is for obscure clients – a local newsstand, for example, or an air condition repair service – who couldn’t possibly have the money to run the ads on their own.
    In fact, if memory serves me, I believe Mr. West got in trouble back in the ’90s for submitting fake ads to some award show (I think it may have been the Addys). If someone can prove me wrong on this, I will gladly retract the statement.

  2. Ah, the old fake work syndrome. Good for your book, but bad for your business. Maybe Brian Murray will come to his shop’s defense (he used to comment here, but stopped a few months ago).

  3. Sunil Shibad says:

    How do they tie their compensation to performance?
    Is there a formula?
    Would love to know it.

  4. Further proof, if any were needed, of The Republik’s prediliction for producing ads for bogus clients can be found in the latest issue of “Archive.” They have two or three beautifully shot, four-color ads for – a local car restoration service!? Come on! Do you honestly think a client like that has the budget to spring for a costly campaign like that?
    Another thing: The Republik’s been in existence for – what, three or four years? Yet a number of the ads featured on their website – in fact, most of the ones for “legitimate” clients, like Nikon and Bermuda – were done by the principals when they were at West & Vaughan or other agencies. An unsophisticated client (like that’s not redundant) might actually think that The Republik handles Nikon, Bermuda, etc.
    Am I being unfair here? Maybe. But I’d love to hear what the agency has to say in its defense.

  5. Dearest David,
    I am sad to say, that I have never posted here before. Perhaps it is another Brian Murray. However, as for coming to my shop’s defense, it is no longer my shop as I no longer ply my craft at the Republik. So, it will be up to someone else from their legions to come to their rescue.
    Brian Murray

  6. Hmmm…I’m sorry, Brian. I thought you had. Maybe I was thinking of Brian Moffat. I know he’s made comments in this space.

  7. Ryan Holler says:

    That is funny. How many Brian Murray’s are there at the Republic? It’s kinda odd that Brian Murray posted that if he’s “never posted here before.” I’ve read Brian Murray’s silly comments here in the past.
    David, you’re not the only one who thinks he’s posted here before.

  8. Dearest Ryan,
    I am not denying that I was at the Republik. I was. For quite a while. I am denying that I have posted on this site. As in, before the last post denying that I had posted on this site. Because if I were to deny it now, within the body of this post, then you would be right in calling me a liar.
    Brian Murray
    Formerly of the Republik

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