Bartle Bogle Hegarty has maintained a dignified silence over its loss,
after only five months, of the pounds 25 million Bausch and Lomb account
(Campaign, last week) on the principle that if you can’t say something
good, it’s best to say nothing at all.
This is the story of an advertiser driven, if not by dishonesty, then by
It began in June, when Bausch and Lomb announced its plan to implement a
global marketing strategy ‘to leverage the worldwide power’ of its
flagship Ray-Ban brand. Bausch and Lomb fired Leo Burnett (in Asia),
Young and Rubicam (in Europe) and the Arnell Group (in the US), and
appointed BBH globally. Client and agency corroborated the story and
Campaign printed it on the front page. Apart from a row over the Arnell
Group’s severance, that seemed it. But no.
Soon after appointing BBH, Bausch and Lomb made personnel changes in the
US. BBH had already produced some films and press work, but a previously
good relationship soured. As was apparent from Campaign’s calls to the
agency last week, BBH believed that the situation could be resolved.
Meanwhile, the client told Campaign it had ‘terminated’ BBH’s contract.
Bozell Worldwide appears to be the winner.
Such behaviour does nobody any favours. BBH has invested time, money and
effort in making its case. Bozell starts off in the insecure knowledge
that its appointment has been made in a messy and underhand manner.
Story after story in Campaign over the past year reflects similarly
grave breakdowns in trust between clients and agencies. The RAC, Saab,
Baileys, Bass and Elida Faberge (on that occasion, in BBH’s favour) have
moved business without telling the losing agencies until Campaign forces
it out of them. But whoever is the winner and whoever the loser, this
kind of client behaviour is as dishonourable and vindictive as it is