Horror stories from agency clients

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Back in November, I aired the client woes of a few anonymous agency people, in the spirit of unity -- who doesn't have a story about a jerk they'd like to tell? In this article, the clients are the ones doing the talking.

In order to cull the best of the worst, I am still keeping my sources secret. I also decided to keep the agency names out of it, even if they deserve to be called out. They know who they are.

I've organized the stories into five "commandments" of good agency behavior. Follow these and you should be in the clear. If you don't, you might end up here in the near future. You've been warned!



Lucia Davis
Lucia Davis March 2, 2012 at 7:47 PM

I feel like a piece titled "Fustercluck 2012: Agency-client relationships from hell" would do really well. Now just have to get our Editor-in-Chief to sign off on it...

Craig Francis
Craig Francis March 2, 2012 at 1:46 PM

@ Lucia Davis - thanks for these - aside from being entertaining, they are takeaway reminders!

I take issue with the Academy Awards popcorn example. How did the popcorn company get itself into a position of having to accept creative or the agency will 'walk' -- is there no methodology in their agreement? My agency schedules previews, feedback, and final draft for approval.

So your firm has bought air time on one of the most expensive dates of the year -- why do you not demand a rough cut WEEKS in advance? Why did the marketing dept in the company allow that the "agency presented the "final" spot to the CEO, head of marketing, and other senior executives days before Oscars"? That's irresponsible within their own positions, not to know what they're running for their company. Does the person telling the story realize video can be re-edited? Why are fixes not demanded overtime in those last "days"? Most agencies I know have turned around a campaign within days at some time or another.

This story seems fishy; or at best, the blind leading the blind. Lucia, maybe it's an example of a horrible agency AND a horrible client? A fustercluck.