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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  How can agencies drop clients or refuse accounts?

How can agencies drop clients or refuse accounts?


What is an agency to do when the client isn’t making any money for the agency? Are agencies allowed to drop clients or refuse an account? What if the problem doesn’t lie with the creative team but the client’s product just sucks?

intro How can agencies drop clients or refuse accounts?Such excellent questions. The common sense answer would be: duh, the agency “fires” the client. Advertising agencies are not generally not- for-profit organizations. However, there are a few circumstances that leave some agencies in a position to keep money-losing accounts. All are debatable in their wisdom. But they include: for prestige (you’d be shocked to know how many luxury car accounts pay their agencies next to nothing) or credibility, or because the account is globally aligned in your network and you can’t autonomously cut them loose locally, or because there’s a belief you can do great work and build the agency portfolio even as you lose money in hopes the great work will lead to winning more accounts.

Many times agencies are saddled with fixing problems advertising just can’t solve. Like, as you suggest, the product sucks. Or the price is too high. Or the product isn’t relevant in the market. So many reasons. The insane thing is, most agencies will still carry on as if their ads will do the job anyway. You try to help the client understand their true obstacles, but somehow they don’t pull the plug or make the changes critical to success. And then when the advertising fails to do the job, somehow it’s still the agency’s fault. It’s a classic. It’s stupid. It happens all the time.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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