How not to behave when you lose an account like SC Johnson

Wow. Yours truly is still reeling a bit from the news that SCJ has moved their entire account from DraftFCB to Ogilvy and BBDO. Today’s post will comment on a telling event that hopefully we can all learn from.

Did you see the tweet DraftFCB posted on Friday morning? Here’s what it said, “Ok, it happened. We’re moving forward.” And then a link to the press release.

Sigh.

So, is this how you sum up a nearly 60-year relationship on a business worth over 65 million dollars in revenue? I know you’ve only got 140 characters. But say it ain’t so, Joe!

Unfortunately, for DraftFCB, it’s gonna take more than 6.5 seconds to get over this loss. There will be HUNDREDS of people affected by this move. Terrific, smart people who have worked day in, day out on this partnership. Folks on both sides of the relationship who have dedicated their professional lives to grow SC Johnson business.

For many, many years this relationship has been rock solid. And mutually beneficial to both the client and the agency. The SCJ empire has grown to over eight BILLION dollars.  With this business, Foote, Cone & Belding expanded their global footprint. And these are just two benefits. The relatively new stakeholders of the FCB brand, IPG and Draft, have also realized multiple advantages.

This tweet risks sending inappropriate messages to just about everyone. It minimizes the work of thousands of people who have touched this business over the years. The seemingly cavalier and flippant tone might also send the wrong message to existing and potential clients. Let alone the internal audience the agency’s PR group should also be serving.

A lesson in what not to do, perhaps!

Without question, this is painful for many. But shouldn’t there be a little bit more respect paid to a relationship? C’mon, DraftFCB. You can do better.

So, gentle reader, what are your thoughts?

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Comments

  1. Steve,
    Seems to me there have been several awkward moves affecting relationships involving Draft FCB, partially due to internal politics if you read some of the reporting on this from Crain’s. I love how agencies try to gloss over this stuff with rah-rah letters and “no big deal” tweets when everyone internally/externally knows otherwise. I know some very good people at Draft FCB and think about them daily because of this. I can assure you they aren’t thinking, “OK, it happened.” As that tweet shows what not to do from a communication perspective, here are some tips in the other direction:
    http://chicagobrander.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/12-service-questions-that-might-be-worth-400-million-to-answer/

  2. Steve Congdon says:

    Great point, Dan. Never a good thing when politics and power struggles get in the way of client work. When you say Crain’s, are you referring to Chicago Business or Ad Age? I only saw one Chicago Business story, and would love to see more.

    And, LOVE your tips! Definitely worth checking out. Many thanks for sharing.

  3. Steve Congdon says: