The Book of Tens 2010

Book of Tens: Adland's Shocking Splits

Even We Were Surprised by These Marketer-Agency Breakups

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GM yanks Chevy from Publicis after one month: After landing at General Motors this spring, Joel Ewanick wasted no time pulling Publicis from the $600 million Chevrolet account it was awarded a month before. He shifted the business to his friend Jeff Goodby's agency, Goodby Silverstein & Partners. The move became the talk of adland not just because it was sudden but also for what it signified about the state of client-agency relationships: Publicis never got a phone call from GM, prompting that agency's U.S. CEO Susan Gianinno to vent in an internal memo to staffers about the car maker being "disrespectful in this decision."

And Bartle Bogle Hegarty barely got to work on Caddy: Mr. Ewanick is responsible for the second-most surprising split of the year too. GM in late 2009 had picked Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, to handle its $270 million Cadillac account after a lengthy review. But Mr. Ewanick had other plans; he wanted Fallon, Minneapolis. BBH barely got any work for Caddy out the door, while Fallon dumped its Chrysler account to take on Cadillac.

Harley Davidson and Carmichael Lynch: After three decades, Carmichael Lynch and Harley Davidson parted ways. Doug Spong, the agency's president, said at the time: "You can't be in a relationship for 31 years and not have some differences." The iconic motorcycle manufacturer claimed C-L initiated the split and insisted that it didn't intend to conduct a search to find a new one. But it recently appointed a trio of new shops, Starcom, Digitas and Victors & Spoils.

Home Depot's Hispanic business moved to Richards Group unit: When Home Depot moved its $37 million U.S. Hispanic account to Richards/Lerma -- a little-known Hispanic capability fielded by Home Depot's general market shop Richards Group -- from incumbent Vidal Partnership, it was a stunning upset. Not only for Vidal, the second-largest Hispanic agency by revenue, but for all multicultural shops, which have in recent times had to fight harder to keep cost-conscious clients from consolidating multicultural business with their general-market agencies.

Mazda zooms away from Doner: In March, Mazda looked beyond the agency that gave it its well-known "Zoom Zoom" tagline and started a review to consider working with other shops. By June, it had cut Doner from the process, and in doing so, stripped the indie agency of its largest account. The car brand selected WPP to build it a team-solution much like Team Detroit, which services Ford.

Best Buy takes media planning to Starcom: When asked about purchasing Best Buy's first Super Bowl ad, Drew Panayiotou, senior VP-U.S. marketing, said that "the spot will be great, driven in part by how great our relationship is with Crispin." The strength of the agency-client relationship is why it came as a surprise that the electronics giant decided to pull media-planning from Crispin and consolidate it all media duties on the $300 million account at Publicis' Starcom.

GSD&M parts ways with BMW: Only a year after BMW took a chance on GSD&M Idea City by giving the Austin, Texas-based agency responsibility for global marketing, the shop initiated a parting of ways with the car maker, citing a number of strains on the relationship including the untimely death of BMW marketer Jack Pitney, who was close to the agency.

Dr. Pepper Snapple Group ends 40-year ties to Y&R: When beverage giant Dr. Pepper Snapple Group shifted creative duties for its 7UP soda brand to Dentsu-owned McGarryBowen without a review, it was the final blow to WPP's Y&R, San Francisco, which created ads for the company's drinks for four decades. While the company had reached out to Deutsch, Los Angeles, and McGarryBowen for various assignments but had maintained the Y&R relationship would remain intact.

Aflac and Fitzgerald & Co.: Atlanta-based Fitzgerald & Co. handled media-planning and -buying duties for Aflac for 20 years before splitting with the insurer in early 2010. It did not participate in a review process, which ended with Aflac consolidating its advertising with Publicis Groupe, awarding its more than $70 million traditional and digital media-planning and -buying accounts, respectively, to MediaVest and Digitas.

Sonic and Barkley break up after 17 years: In another example of longtime partners going separate ways, the shop that helped put Sonic on the map, Barkley, in 2010 lost the burger chain's account after 17 years. Breaking up is hard to do, though; later this year, Sonic handed back a few small pieces of the account, like some PR work and a national cause-marketing campaign.