Seven Strong Unions Earn Honorable Mention in Ad Age's Agency-Client Marriages Contest

From Haworth And Target to Doner And Bush Brothers, These Partnerships Prove Notable

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This week Ad Age announced the Gold winner in our first client-agency marriage contest, which was BBDO Minneapolis and Hormel's 83-year-long relationship. We also honored Publicis Kaplan Thaler and Procter & Gamble's Charmin brand with the Silver award, for going strong for more than 50 years and enjoying talking about poop and toilet paper. But there are a few more lasting, admirable relationships that adland can learn from. Read on to see what's behind these seven notable agency-client unions.

Despite all the talk of marketers leaving their media agencies for shops with bigger scale and lower pricing, the Target-Haworth relationship is still going strong after 43 years. The independent agency added an 8-year-old Target as its first client in 1970. "Our business has grown substantially since then," said the company. "Haworth has a knack for putting Target at the heart of pop-culture moments that fuel talk value." Memorable moments include a takeover of The New Yorker and a recent tie-in to the storyline of the ABC show "Revenge."

Differentiating salt is a tall order, but for 66 years, DDB, Chicago, has partnered with Morton's to make it a market leader and expand the brand from the kitchen table to water treatment, ice melters and numerous other products. DDB has "helped our Morton Salt Girl logo and "When it rains it pours' slogan remain two of the most-recognized marketing icons in history," the company said. "While the agency teams and ideas have certainly evolved over time, DDB's values and approach have remained consistent."

"When Maker's Mark joined the Beam Global family of brands in 2005, we knew we had acquired one of the true icons of the spirits world," said the company. "What we didn't bargain for was an equally passionate marketing partner in Doe Anderson." Over the course of its 43-year relationship, the team went from marketing and selling 35,000 cases a year to 1.3 million. And although it wasn't always easy -- the team weathered backlash from the brand's temporary decision to lower the whiskey's proof this year -- the trials have only tightened the bond.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president, Barack Obama was born, Barbie finally found love in Ken and Tide appointed Compton Advertising (later to become part of Saatchi & Saatchi) as its advertising agency. Over the past 50 years, that relationship has evolved into a partnership with ambitious goals. There was the disaster-relief program "Tide Loads of Hope" in 2005 in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Super Bowl hit known as the "Talking Stain" and the creation of Tide Pods, one of the biggest laundry innovations in decades.

Eighty years ago, Land O'Lakes and Campbell Mithun joined forces during the Great Depression. It was a tough time, but it prepared the duo to weather any situation. When Land O'Lakes diversified from its legacy product lines of butter, milk and cheese into margarine in the 1970s, Campbell Mithun played a key role in shaping strategy. That's continued with the development of flavored-butter blends and new cheese products. Said the company: "We can count on the creative talent and breakthrough thinking of Campbell Mithun to deliver."

Through multiple management changes and two major acquisitions, Marc USA has been the agency partner and champion of Rite Aid more than 18 years. The shop's knowledge of the business has made it a powerful resource. As a result it's responsible for driving everything from store design to employee training to internal communications. "We see Marc USA as an extension of our organization. ... Daily access to the agency's most senior leaders ... has contributed to the foundation of our long-term relationship," the pharmacy giant said.

DONER AND BUSH BROTHERS In the 16 years since Doner and the Bush Brothers brought Jay Bush and his talking dog, Duke, to TVs across America, the brand has grown from a small regional player to one of America's most beloved beans. The "Jay and Duke" campaign consistently scores in ASI's top 10. Consumers remain curious about whether or not Duke will keep the "Secret Family Recipe" secret. "We believe that continuity, consistency and commitment yield a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace," Bush Brothers said.

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