Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Really, in the grand scheme of life and marketing, this is going to be a blip on your radar at best.
There may not even be any take away for a small business here.
Nonetheless, this must be observed.
Jack In The Box, the (mainly) west coast burger chain, has fired its advertising agency of 20 years.
WHAT PART OF THE COW IS THE ANGUS?
Yes, I admit it: I'm one of the many people who took juvenile delight in the commercial attacking Angus burger competition on behalf of Jack's 100% sirloin burger.
Jack is in a meeting, standing in front of a diagram of a cow, and is being asked to circle the part of the cow where the Angus comes from.
This commercial prompted a lawsuit from Carl's Jr./Hardee's for misleading the public and implying that Angus burgers were made from cow anus. (Seriously. That's how stupid we all probably are. We would suddenly think Angus means anus.)
A similar commercial showed a room full of guys laughing uproariously every time they used the word "angus."
These are just two of many Jack In The Box commercials that invited controversy over the years.
They are also two of the many commercials that made burger buyers pay attention to Jack.
During the reign of Creative Director Rick Sitting, Jack In The Box grew from 1200 to 2200 restaurants.
The stock price went from $3 to $91.
Obviously, the advertising worked.
IT WAS ALSO ONE OF THE UNIQUE AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS OF ALL TIME
Jack's agency used to be Chiat/Day in Los Angeles.
That's where Rick Sittig first created Jack In The Box advertising--when Jack was coming off a disastrous 1993 E.coli-tainted burger episode.
The resulting "Jack Is Back" campaign is one of the longest running in the history of fast food advertising.
The campaign was so successful that when Jack's contract with Chiat/Day was up, Jack split.
And took Rick Sittig with them. So to speak.
Sitting left Chiat/Day and started an advertising agency solely to service Jack In The Box
That ad agency had what your relentless scribe believes to be one of the best ad agency names of all time.
HELLO, KOWLOON WHOLESALE SEAFOOD COMPANY
I used to walk past Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Company on Montana Avenue.
There was an old, balloon-tire bike parked on the sidewalk.
Attached to the bike was a chalk board with Chinese writing on it, indicating the day's catch.
Eventually, the name of the agency was changed to Secret Weapon Marketing. (Oh, look--another ad agency that doesn't call itself "advertising," but opts for the more holistic notion of "marketing.")
And for my money, Secret Weapon has one of the best brands in advertising.
They obviously don't take themselves too, too seriously.
And they always limit the agency roster to no more than three clients at a time.
AS A CLIENT, HOW CAN YOU NOT FEEL LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO GET PERSONAL ATTENTION?
Secret Weapon obviously did great things for Jack.
So why the split?
Just a guess here.
And it's taking us back to Fred & Ethel, the dueling comedy twins of so much decision making.
The longtime reader to this screed will recall Fred & Ethel as the absurdist names we've given to the demons better known as Fear & Ego.
In this case, we're guessing that ego is at the heart of this change.
A NEW CMO IS MAKING HIS MARK
Well, "new" is all relative.
Keith Guilbault has been in the position of CMO for almost two years.
But a year ago, Jack did announce an agency review, and brought another agency into the mix.
And now, the work is moving from Secret Weapon to LA hipster agency David&Goliath.
Mr. Guilbault could easily be looking to make his mark after a decade of working on Jack In The Box in various capacities.
We've all seen it happen before.
And it's going to be interesting to see what happens next.
IN THE MEANTIME, IS THERE ANY TAKE AWAY FOR US LITTLE GUYS?
Like, don't put all your eggs in one basket. (Secret Weapon was smart enough to have two other accounts--even if neither of them are as big as Jack.)
Or, don't let ego (or fear) drive your business decisions--including advertising decisions. (We have no evidence that's what's going on here, but it's a good lesson anyway.)
And perhaps, dance with him who brung ya. (Well, as long as the guy who brung ya is still kicking butt and taking names on your behalf--which it seems that Secret Weapon was.)
But, again, all of these conclusions assume facts not in evidence. Yet.
Perhaps the best take away for a small business marketer is this: don't be afraid to do advertising that makes folks sit up and take notice.
Which is what gave Secret Weapon Marketing a reason for being and a 20-year relationship with a mighty little client.
A salute to Rick Sittig, Secret Weapon, and a quick, healthy rebound with a new third client.