Saturday, November 18, 2006

L.L. Bean, Pile & Company called out by AdPulp.

It always boosts the ego to be called prescient, so it was nice to see Danny over at AdPulp recall my comments about L.L. Bean's last agency review. It seems that after just 14 months, following a review that was an exercise in futility, they've dropped relentlessly bland JWT as their agency of record.

Of course, the biggest culprit in the whole maroon was Pile & Company who, I'm quite sure, has probably conducted countless equally useless agency reviews since they led the folks from Maine to JWT. And certainly collected handsome fees along the way.

Since my previous entry about the L.L. Bean/Pile & Co. review was from July 12, 2005 and is deep in the blog archive, I've posted it again below. Enjoy.


Pile & Company Process the Usual Pile of ____.

So I hear that L.L. Bean is having an agency review after deciding to part ways with Martin/Williams. With the full understanding that inviting our firm to pitch the account would be about as likely as Dick Cheney joining the Democrats, I decide to send an email to L.L. Bean in the hope it might find its way to a sympathetic individual. This is what the email said:


MAYBE YOUR NEXT AD AGENCY ISN'T REALLY AN AD AGENCY.

Another ad agency, by the very nature of its business model, will be a lot like your last agency. Not necessarily bad, but not especially great either.

The challenges in modern communications are bigger than Martin-Williams. Or another agency creation of WPP or Omnicom or Interpublic.

The problem is that consumers are seeking dialogue and agencies are providing advertising.

I know. I worked at multi-national agencies in New York as a copywriter. I was the creative director and a partner at an agency here in Michigan.

Today, I run a company that does a lot more than advertising — podcasts, blogs, catalogs, uniforms. Sure, we do advertising, but we only do it when it's going to be effective. Our focus is on enthusiast marketing — snow and skate, craft beer, acoustic guitars are a few of our accounts. We believe that it requires different tactics and tone to reach people who are passionate about something.

What's more, since we've always felt that advertising people typically fail to understand the challenges of running a business that has to sell products, we're launching our own line of steel furniture next week.

Fact is, I think most clients don't need one agency anymore. Marketing departments are now run by thinkers who can form strategies and lead execution. They would be well-served by choosing the right partners according to the demands of each project.

I realize these are all probably points you've considered in the past and that you may have good reasons for ignoring all of them. But L.L. Bean is a company I've always admired and I decided to send along my thoughts.

I hope you'll read my blog and visit our web site — they're in my email signature. And while it would be a giant leap to go from an Omnicom shop to pursuing creative projects with an independent in the Midwest, I hope you'll call to talk about it.

Sincerely,

Dean Gemmell
President, Black Lab Five



I wrote the note in five minutes. I didn't give it another thought until a few days later, when I received a voice mail message from the very sweet and polite Nadira Vallee at Pile & Company, the consultant handling the review process for L.L. Bean.

Poor woman. She was surely annoyed that she was forced to follow up after someone at Bean had forwarded my email, yet she maintained her impeccably professional demeanor. After some phone tag, we connected. As I said, she is a lovely and polite woman.

She reviewed the the criteria for agencies (full-service, integrated, global, all-knowing) that Pile & Company — pile is a rather unfortunate noun in a company name, isn't it? — had established with L.L. Bean. Of course, our agency failed to measure up and we were quickly dispatched. She was, however, willing to engage in some spirited discussion about what L.L. Bean really needed.

"You see," I said, "I think Martin-Williams is a fine agency. I think Mullen before them is a fine agency that did plenty of fine ads. So it seems to me that L.L. Bean may not really need an ad agency that makes money by producing lots of ads. Perhaps instead of herding together another flock of agencies (Crispin! Get Crispin in this thing, dammit!) to pitch the business, you should talk to your client about handling their business in a different way. Maybe they're just not right for an agency relationship."

Nadira, who I must stress once again was most lovely and polite, responded to my volley with the usual talk of integration needs and scope and so forth. Then she invited me to add our agency to their agency directory called Agency Compile . Which, of course, I was unable to do because I refuse to use Internet Explorer and wondered how a search firm in an industry dominated by Apple could insist on IE compatibility for a site. After some back and forth with their webmaster, he added us to their directory himself but the site would not allow me edit our profile. (Even in Firefox, I might add. I also noticed that Pile offered premium directory status for a, ahem, stipend. I noticed this fact, of course, after polite Nadira's talk about the rich tradition of ethics and integrity at Pile.)

At this point, it seemed best to cut my losses. I asked to be removed from the directory.

So here's my beef. And yes, I realize it's been a long journey to arrive at it. If L.L. Bean motors through two above average agencies, would it not be wise for a review consultant to suggest a different approach? The agency model is quite effective for many marketers, but old L.L. may not be among them. I'm quite sure their marketing department could handle working with several shops on different projects to reach their many different — hikers, skiers, canoeists, suburban Moms who go for walks — demographic groups. What's more, they're a catalog company that sends me a big, multi-page ad called the L.L. Bean catalog at least once a month. Will another series of ads from another ad agency be the solution? Sweet Nadira even mentioned that an invited agency would need direct mail capabilities. Please, lead me to the agency that will show America's venerable catalog retailer how to do direct mail.

I think someone should measure the length of client-agency relationships created by the various search firms. And the sales/share results that were produced. I doubt search firms produce tenures that are any better than clients who proceed without them.

Even worse, they're simply recycling the age-old "new agency" solution. Galling, when companies like Bean, with moderate marketing budgets and diverse audiences, need new thinking on communication partners.

42 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.adquity.com

Classifieds for our community. Buy, sell, trade, date, events... post anything. Adquity Classifieds.

http://www.adquity.com

8:27 AM  
Blogger JacobMoore said...

These portions subsequently fitted in, regularly furnish the key to the http://startso11.info/www.mediamarkts.pl.html interpretation.. Leonard, and I found from what they said that she http://startso11.info/Lubisz+mie%C4%87%3Fet.pl.html is among the elite of the lite.. The child is full of beseeching; http://startso11.info/www.gruczo%C5%82y+wydzielania+wewn%C4%99trznego.html he wants another kiss; he wants to play yet awhile.. Just you tie them http://storyah44.info/budowa+silnika+chrysler+voyager.html stockin's up an' lemme have 'em.. Hotchkiss had compromised the suit http://startso11.info/historja+wpanu+tadeuszu+historja+wpanu+tadeuszu.html for four thousand dollars and costs.. She is sure, she says, that intelligent persons cannot understand that pressure upon public servants which alone drives any man into the employment of a double. http://startso11.info/nowiny+gliwickie+pl.html. Then to the Superintendent: Add you, sir! http://startso11.info/www.felikslofbl.pl.html The next Inmate was a semi-idiotic-looking old man.. It would not do, either, http://startso11.info/budowle+na+marsie.html to be seen staring at her if she should happen to turn her head, so he veered off, intending to regain the road.. Lots of the boys here has seen http://startso11.info/img53.imageshack.us%2Fmy.php%3Fimage%3Dsscw3.jpg.html that Smiley and can tell you about him.. But one was a well of cool, deep water, and looking suddenly in, one day, http://startso11.info/maxseal.html I saw the stars.. He was a fine-looking fellow in his neat tennis-flannels, slim, graceful, twenty-eight or thirty years old, with a http://storyah44.info/problem+filozof%C3%B3w+%2B+procesy.html Frenchy pointed beard.. But I'm glad to http://startso11.info/agd+rtv.html see you, even if I can't remember you.. The patient was eighteen years old when the attack http://startso11.info/Zalew+lesna.html occurred.. Let me help you settle your http://startso11.info/info+samochody.html board-bill, Mr.. an outlet for the discharge of its excitement, and serve it as a http://startso11.info/metro+kredyty.html sally port, while, on the other hand, they give the Forec.. I recognize the http://startso11.info/logistyka+papieru.html obligations of the situation.. The scene in the dream is the repetition of a little adventure for which she has often been http://startso11.info/cs+1.6+cd+key.html teased by her husband.. Once more he lifted up his mighty voice: Drunk, drunk, drunk, drer-unc, http://startso11.info/metkownice.html drer-unc, -erunc, -unc, -unc.. said Titbottom, with a bow of quaint respect to my http://startso11.info/Firmy+leasingowe.html wife.. Buller rose http://storyah44.info/poznan+herb.html from the water...

6:22 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Great post,well !online advertising gives your ads a more wider coverage and this globally wider coverage helps in making your advertisements reach more audiences.printandradio is a full service advertising agency and we know every business dollar is essential in the overall health of a company.
http://www.printandradio.com/

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Даа… Довольно спорно, поспорил желание с автором… [url=http://tutledy.ru/muzhchina.html]мужчина[/url]

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's new to me.
Anyways, I'm definitely delighted I found it and I'll be bookmarking and checking back often!


My site :: online shopping experience

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post but I was wanting to know if you could write
a litte more on this topic? I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!

my blog ... profitbetkz.com

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you know.
The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue
solved soon. Cheers

Look into my blog post; Get More Info

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heya, I'm new to running a blog and websites in general and was wondering how you got the "www" included in your domain name? I see your domain name, "http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944" has the www and my domain looks like, "http://mydomain.com". Do you know the way I can alter this? I'm using Wordpress.
Warm regards

my web site; seo link building

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there! My name is Minnie and I personally just wanted to say your blog site is
great! It really is amusing due to the fact I use to have a
blog site that practically had an identical url: http:
//www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944
mine was only a few characters different.
In any case, I am a big supporter of your blog and if you at any time want a guest write-up make sure you email me personally at:
minnieyazzie@yahoo.com. I take pleasure in writing!

Also visit my weblog: Visit Website

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I
was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
I'm getting tired of Wordpress because I've had problems with hackers and I'm looking at options for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

my web blog - just click the following webpage

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from Colorado! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home.
I'm surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I'm not even using
WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, good blog!

My web page: relevant resource site

8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Howdy superb blog! Does running a blog like this require a great deal of work?
I've virtually no understanding of programming however I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic however I simply needed to ask. Thanks!

My web page: Suggested Internet page

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I
ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no data backup.
Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?


Also visit my homepage - %anchor_text%

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciating the persistence you put into your blog and in depth information you provide.
It's nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same unwanted rehashed information.

Excellent read! I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.


Take a look at my web site ... best link building services

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I was thinking about adding a website
link back to your site since both of our websites are primarily based around the same niche.
Would you prefer I link to you using your website address: http://www.

blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944 or blog title: Blogger:
Lab Reports. Please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Many thanks

my homepage ... click to read more

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog?

Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2
images. Maybe you could space it out better?

Feel free to surf to my web site; external link

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?
I'm trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog.
Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.


Feel free to surf to my page Read More

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there your web page url: http://www.blogger.
com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944 seems to be redirecting
to a completely different internet site when I click the home-page button.
You may want to have this checked.

my blog post visit the following internet site

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there administrator, I just wanted to give you a quick heads up that your Website: http://www.
blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944 is
being flagged as a potentially harmful site in my web browser firefox.
I would highly recommend having somebody look into it. You can easily lose a lot of guests due to this
issue. Very best of Luck.

Feel free to visit my site ... http://seoinglinks.com/

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a totally different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

my web page :: link building blog

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout
of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it
better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having
one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?



Here is my web-site: visit the up coming internet site

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up
and let you know a few of the images aren't loading properly. I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue.

I've tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

Also visit my website ... auto insurance washington state

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day. I am wondering if you would be interested in
doing a link exchange? I notice your blog: http://www.blogger.

com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944 and my blog are
based mostly around the same subject matter. I'd really like to switch links or perhaps guest author a article for you. Here is my personal contact: esperanzacoward@yahoo.com. Please be sure to contact me if you're even
remotely interested. Thanks.

my page - visit the following webpage

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading
it, you happen to be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back in the foreseeable future.
I want to encourage one to continue your great posts, have a nice morning!



Also visit my website - click to read more

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues
with your website. It appears as if some of the text in your content are running off the screen.
Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is
happening to them too? This might be a issue with my
internet browser because I've had this happen previously. Appreciate it

Also visit my web site :: Full Content

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I'd figured I'd ask.
Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring
a blog post or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same
topics as yours and I think we could greatly
benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me
an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!


Look at my web-site ... Continuing ()

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We stumbled over here by a different page and thought I should check things out.
I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to finding out
about your web page repeatedly.

Here is my web blog - keystone auto insurance

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic however , I'd figured I'd ask.
Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or
vice-versa? My website goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from
each other. If you are interested feel free to shoot me an email.
I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the
way!

my web site :: auto insurance tn

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely
enjoy reading your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover
the same subjects? Thanks!

Here is my homepage; link building package ()

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your weblog seems to be having some compatibilty issues in my firefox browser.

The text appears to be running off the webpage pretty bad.
If you would like you can e-mail me at: sebastian_vickers@freenet.
de and I'll shoot you over a screen shot of the problem.

My blog post; Full Record

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I've been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job!

Here is my page; auto insurance edmonton

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there I am so delighted I found your blog, I
really found you by accident, while I was searching on Aol
for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot
for a marvelous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time
to go through it all at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added in your
RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please
do keep up the superb b.

Take a look at my site click for source - -

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello are using Wordpress for your blog platform? I'm new to the blog world but I'm
trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your
own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

my website ... related web page

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I'm assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
I'm not very web savvy so I'm not 100% positive.
Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Take a look at my web site :: Discover More

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please let me know if you're looking for a article author for your blog. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd really like to write some articles for your blog in
exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested.
Cheers!

My web blog - visit the following page []

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other
websites? I have a blog centered on the same topics you discuss and
would really like to have you share some stories/information.
I know my subscribers would appreciate your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.

Here is my webpage - Pr7 Backlink (Www.Nexopia.Com)

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization?
I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good gains.
If you know of any please share. Thanks!

Here is my web-site; Read A lot more []

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
your sites really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. Many thanks

Feel free to surf to my homepage ... auto insurance agency

5:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you will be
a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will come back very soon.

I want to encourage that you continue your great posts,
have a nice weekend!

Feel free to surf to my web blog; purchase backlinks (franciscof.jigsy.com)

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I've been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent job!

Also visit my web page - pr5 backlinks (palangosgydyklos.lt)

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doh! I was domain name shopping at namecheap.
com and went to type in the domain name: http://www.
blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9540700&postID=116386844478016944
and guess who already acquired it? You did! haha j/k.
I was about to buy this domain name but noticed it was taken so I figured I'd come check it out. Good blog!

my weblog get more backlinks

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! I know this is kinda off topic however I'd figured I'd ask.

Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a
blog post or vice-versa? My blog addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!


my webpage :: backlinks to my site

1:54 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home