Ad agency given the boot after PR disaster…

martenangel.jpgJoey, Sid, Joe and Kurt; punk’d by ad agency?
Grauniad reports that Saatchi & Saatchi has been fired over their proposed series of ads featuring dead rockers wearing Doc Marten’s bovver boots (Read ‘Public Relations Disasters’ for similar case where PR man used dead pop stars in press release for ‘Rock manager’ computer game). Seems someone ‘leaked’ the ads without client approval.
With all-too-typical ad agency disregard for all relevant stakeholders that could be affected by their communications, the agency overlooked that the ads could offend some sensitive soles/souls; cue delicate flower and weeping widow of Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and Joey Ramone’s brother both of whom’re reportedly disgusted, various blogosphere stories claim. But the plot thickens…
The Guardian’s Mark Sweeney writes how a senior Martens exec says the ads are off brief. But another Dr Marten spokesperson Andrew Petch is on record saying the ads show the shoes are ‘made to last’ Saatchi to the power of 2 Creative Dir Kate Stanners says the ads are ‘edgy, but not offensive’, as reflected in blog posts about the boots. Kate further asserts that there was client agreement to place at least a one-off ad in a niche title. Timely reminder that it’s time for more Ad agencies to get PR involved in developing crisis management plans for when their new/proposed campaigns morph into PR gaffes?

4 thoughts on “Ad agency given the boot after PR disaster…

  1. How can Doc’s say ‘yes’ the ad can appear as a one off, then say they didn’t commission it and, after a bit of heat, sack the agency? ‘Terribly’ wishy-washy behaviour wot’s totally incongruent with the Doc M brand.
    Evidence this from David Suddens, DM’s CEO:
    “Dr Martens is very sorry for any offence that has been caused…our mistake was to say, yes, it may appear in the one-off edition. We did not commission it and did not even like it. I’m really terribly sorry.”
    “As a consequence, Dr Martens has terminated its relationship with the responsible agency.”

    That’s it; my Docs are going; anyone selling a pair of Monkey boots?


  2. Fact is it’s a clever execution! One of the best ways to revive the sadly out of fashion (and even more sadly – now made in China) Docs is to go back to their heyday and to associate the former icon with – former icons. Courtney Love may have been married to Kurt but she does not have a moral monopoly over his memory (she may have a legal one, admittedly).

    Just as James Dean will remain forever young in our memory (as will Sid and Joey), so too will Kurt Cobain be ever dressed in a checked flannel shirt and a pair of Doc Martens.


  3. Quite; moral monopoly seems somehow incongruent with Courtney L (sorry, dont personall ken the lady). I heard Kurt wore Converse, not Docs. Aren’t Docs more a skinhead/ska/lesbian brand than a punk one?


  4. Update: an ex-Saatchi staffer reckons it’s all a problem of vanity; the Ad was placed in just one publication so that S&S could legitimise the creative as a potential Ad award winner; guess the prize wasnt what they’d expected.


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