Australian CEO fires agency on first showing of ad

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MELBOURNE -- Apparently offended by the tagline of a $3m campaign for Billy Guyatts Super Music Centres which read: "...then we stack it with thousands of others and sell it for chicken s..t! That's Showbiz!", Trevor Herd, CEO of parent company Vox Entertainment Stores Ltd, ordered the ad pulled and the agency, HammondDare Advertising, fired.

Herd had been absent from the campaign's review and approval process held by the local agency with senior Vox executives and saw the ad for the first time the day the campaign began. He ordered former incumbent, Mojopartners, to be put back on the business.

HammondDare is now claiming unspecified damages from Vox for what Simon Hammond says is "unwarranted termination of what was expected to be a long-term arrangement". He says HammondDare wants compensation for "commitment and intellectual property that had been put into developing long-term creative and strategic repositioning for the Vox Group".

The print ads showed a T-shirted male playing the piano and singing into a microphone during a recording session. The text centered on the sweat, pain and uncertainty of recording a CD which, finally "is acclaimed against all odds as a masterpiece". Then came the tagline which is said to have offended Herd.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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