If any more evidence were needed (and we really didn't need any more, thank you), Friday's news that the Quaker Oats Co. is moving several of its core brands from Goodby Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco to Juniper Park (which sounds like a tree farm to us) in Toronto, further demonstrates that clients now believe they can simply move accounts around whenever the urge hits them and -- without missing a beat -- somehow wind up with a consistent, coherent, compelling advertising message. It's madness.
The very accounts Quaker is now moving from Goodby to Juniper Park were here in Chicago at Element 79 not that long ago. Quaker gave no cogent explanation why it yanked the more than $110 million in business from Element 79 at the time that agency lost the business, and it is offering up nothing but drivel as an explanation for the move this time -- stuff like the remark that Juniper Park has "a deep understanding of our consumer." Well, every agency seems to have that understanding when the business is coming in. But isn't it amazing how quickly that understanding seems to have disappeared when clients abruptly dismiss an agency?
If clients simply got back to demanding great creative from the agencies with which they have -- in many instances -- long and fruitful relationships, they'd be much better off over the long haul. The bigger problem, we fear, is that clients -- and particularly the chief marketing officers at many of these clients -- simply no longer have any clue what great, effective, memorable creative is. So they are incapable of recognizing it and differentiating it from the dreck that they often greenlight.