The ad agency FCB Worldwide resigned its Amazon.com account today in a bold way after the online retailer invited it to compete with other agencies for future worldwide billings. FCB had been Amazon.com's agency of record in the U.S. for three and a half years.
FCB resigned the account during Amazon's most crucial season and issued a statement pointing to disharmony with the retailer. FCB President Simon Bolton attributed his company's decision to "fundamental disagreements with the direction that Amazon.com was taking in 2001." He called the breakup "a fitting point on which to end our relationship." Most client-agency splits are handled in more diplomatic fashion.
Amazon.com said it asked FCB to participate in the company's search for an agency which would handle its marketing around the world. Amazon.com had invited FCB and other agencies - the company wouldn't say how many - to compete before the shop announced its resignation.
For its part, Amazon says it regrets FCB's departure, but that the companies are still on amicable terms.
"We've invited them to participate in the global review and they declined to participate, and that was the basis for their statement this morning," said Becky Roberts, Amazon's director of global marketing. "We did think that they were a viable candidate, but being stewards of our business, it was incumbent upon us to make sure that we got the best agency for our business."
Amazon.com spent $36 million on offline advertising in 1999 and this year, through August, has spent $9.38 million on offline advertising, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Amazon.com recently hired Alan Brown in September as its new chief marketing officer, a possible sign it's moving in a different direction marketing-wise. In addition to FCB, Amazon has been working with four other agencies around the world.
Courtesy of The Industry Standard