Both parties confirmed the split, but cited different reasons. Wile Arnold blamed slashed marketing budgets, the Stratham, N.H-based retailer said it is searching for "fresh thinking" for its brand.
Timberland consolidated its global account at Arnold in 2004. Among other things, the shop gave Timberland -- widely praised for its environmentally-friendly production and marketing practices -- its "Make It Better" tagline and redesigned shoeboxes to be made of 100% recycled materials.
Timberland VP-Global Marketing Carol Yang could not be immediately reached, but a company spokeswoman said the retailer will conduct an official review to appoint a new creative agency.
"From our perspective as a company and as a brand we were interested in pursuing some new directions and fresh thinking, and realized it was a good opportunity for us to pause, review our current partners and explore the landscape a little bit," the spokeswoman said.
And here's Arnold's version: "We've enjoyed working with Timberland over the past three years and are proud of the Make It Better positioning we created for the brand," Pam Hamlin, president of Arnold's Boston office, said in an e-mailed statement. "However, due to declining budgets, we have decided to part ways. We wish Timberland best of luck in the future."
Spending since 2005
According to data from TNS Media Intelligence, Timberland's marketing spending has dropped off over the past few years, from $11 million in U.S. measured media in 2005 to $6.2 million in 2006, and then down to only $1 million between January and September of 2007.
Agencies that have previously handled creative work for Timberland include Publicis Groupe's Fallon and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen. Mullen's media arm, MediaHub, won back some of the client's business last summer, as it was tapped to handle media planning, buying and analytics after a review.
Timberland has more than 6,000 employees and sells its gear worldwide through department stores, athletic specialty stores and independent retailers.