Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I always get a little sad when you see an agency and a client break up after a long and successful run. It makes me feel gloomy for the industry--when an agency's work saves a client or drives a client's success and then they are dismissed. Undoubtedly, the reasons for advertising breakups are as complicated as the reasons for relationship breakups. But somehow, I always take the side of the agency.
The latest breakup involves Carmichael-Lynch, the storied Minneapolis agency, and Harley-Davidson, the storied Milwaukee motorcycle manufacturer.
For 31 years Carmichael-Lynch has done outstanding ads for Harley. Helped them stave off bankruptcy. Helped make them iconic, cool, a standard in a motorcycle world teeming with cheaper Japanese imports.
And now it's over.
Mark-Hans Richer, Harley's chief marketing officer explained things, incomprehensibly, this way: "We've had a good run with Carmichael Lynch over the past 31 years but as our brand has grown globally and with new, broader audiences and cultural opportunities, we've been working for some time with a more diverse group of agency partners. Our strategies have been moving away from a singular consumer target and a one-size-fits-all agency solution. Rather than accept this new reality, CL chose a different path and we respect that."
I'm not sure what Richer's words mean. Like I said, they're incomprehensible.
It probably means Harley's work will suck and no one will see it.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 6:58 AM