Stan Richards is a smart man

Richards, founder of The Richards Group, says his agency is a better, happier place for long ago adopting a policy of not defending existing accounts in agency reviews, according to this article in Ad Age.

(His rationale for that policy, in the linked article, is classic.)

Yet, Richards will make exceptions, as he did in the case of Home Depot last year. His shop bucked the low odds of most defensive reviews (some say a low as 5% success rate) and held onto the $600 million account. He offers great rationale for making the exception with Home Depot. And he didn’t mention the 600 million most obvious reasons even once.

The Martin Agency recently tried to defend its UPS account, then withdrew as success appeared unlikely. Were the defense, and the withdrawal, the right decisions? Not knowing the inside scoop, I think so. UPS had decided to globalize its advertising efforts. So it was fundamentally a new account. A win would have given Martin a tremendous showcase for managing a global ad campaign. With a reward like that, it’s difficult to resist – especially since the success of the nine-year relationship  didn’t seem to be the issue.

On the other hand, when Crispin Porter + Bogusky was asked to defend its VW account last month, it declined. According to Ad Age, CPB said: “As a rule, we do not participate in reviews for our current accounts, and this will not be an exception.”

Interesting stuff. I wonder  whether the approaches of these great agencies offer any guidance for the vast majority of  small, less prominent agencies when they deal with the same issue.

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