How To Fire Your Ad Agency.


I got a call from a client friend of mine the other day. He asked me “How Do I Fire My Agency?” I had never been asked that before. I have been fired by a client or two when I worked for agencies so I know how bad news feels.

I have also met many agencies while conducting agency searches for clients and I know that some agencies deserve to be fired.

He shared that the agency had been with them for a number of years.

I immediately said that you should do it in person. They aren’t local he replied. Then by phone and a letter but not just an email I added. I have talked with him many times over recent years about the agency in question and he had shared his frustrations that they weren’t staffed correctly and had become order takers.

I guess the chicken had come home to roost.

I remember having a client in Canada a few years ago. One day the CEO sent the President of the agency where I was working an email saying that he was going to be in town and wanted to have Breakfast near the agency. I knew immediately what was going to happen at the Breakfast and it did. The fact that the client had come down to tell the agency in person was a nice gesture but it didn’t change the results or the feelings that come from a client loss.

I got an email recently from another client. He shared that they had realigned their agencies and terminated two agencies so they could consolidate the account at their new lead agency. Probably a financial deal. He expressed his admiration for an agency that was fired and said they had parted on good terms and added that they were a great team and he would keep in touch with them.

I know the shop he was talking about and have a lot of respect for them. The best way to fire them doesn’t matter. It happened for one of the myriad of ways that agencies good and bad lose clients these days.

I learned the drill when I was an agency puppy working for a large multinational agency in Toronto. We had a very significant Global client we shared with another agency around the world. I remember the story. It was Christmas time and in Canada we have Boxing Day on the 26th. The client was having our agency over to his house to thank them for the work that they were doing.

The rumour was that he got a call from his boss in the U.S. saying that they had just reached a Global agreement with the two agencies for the coming year. My agency picked up the Business in London and Australia but we lost Canada and he was to fire the agency that was at his house.

Nothing much has changed but time.

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Read: Are Marketers Still Stewarts of the Brand.

What’s Wrong with Client Agency Relationships?


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