Chuckin’ The Chucks

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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 Priceline.com. 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

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.