"Wieden always felt like it was a one-way relationship," said an executive familiar with the matter. "They felt like they presented a way to drive the brand forward, and Starbucks wasn't receptive."... Other agencies that have worked with Starbucks have felt frustration with the marketer too. Rich Silverstein, co-founder of Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which did two stints representing Starbucks, said much of the fault lies with the mercurial Mr. Schultz. "He does not appreciate advertising," he said. "Any agency that comes in has one foot out the door already.""Wah wah" would be the knee-jerk reaction to this—but keep in mind that it must have been actually really bad in order for an agency to walk away from an account of this magnitude.
Unrest at Starbucks is hardly new. The company has been described as a difficult client for many years. It's infamous for greenlighting projects and later withdrawing approval. For instance, the chain made its TV-advertising debut during the last holiday season, but a broadcast campaign had been under way at least once before.Oh well. Starbucks has never had a truly great ad campaign, anyhow. Can you name one? I can't. So it's probably no great loss on either side. Starbucks is in a bad place, with the economy how it is, and no ad agency will be able to stop that. Anyhow, Starbucks needs to focus on its hand herpes problem first. [Ad Age]