Advertising agency Ackerman McQueen has confirmed that it is formally resigning its account with the National Rifle Association.
I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t come as a great shock to me. After a client sues you not once but twice and you countersue all in the span of about six weeks, the writing is pretty much on the wall isn’t it?
What does surprise me, a bit any way, is that the agency fired the client and not the other way around given the accusations by the NRA in its law suits. In April it sued for breach of contract, suggesting not so subtly that Ackerman was ripping it off (the agency denies this) and then refusing to open the books so it could prove as much.
The second suit, filed earlier this month by the gun rights group, charged the agency with undertaking a campaign to “tarnish and ultimately destroy the public image of the NRA and its senior leadership.” Which is exactly the opposite of what agencies are paid to do by their clients.
Here’s the statement Ackerman McQueen issued formally terminating the relationship:
“Faced with the NRA’s many inexplicable actions that have constructively terminated the parties’ Services Agreement, Ackerman McQueen decided it is time to stand up for the truth, and formally provide a Notice to Terminate its almost four-decade long relationship with the National Rifle Association. Over the last very difficult year, the NRA’s chaos led us to lose faith in the organization’s willingness to act on behalf of NRA’s mission.”
Wait, there’s more: “We implored everyone involved to stay true to the NRA membership. In return, we were attacked in frivolous lawsuits and defamed with made-up stories that were then cowardly peddled to the media. Our employees’ rights to privacy were challenged by a determination to drag false allegations into the public with leaks and innuendo. The intent was to make us afraid. We will never fear the truth. The NRA has been a powerful force to protect the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans. For 38 years we were with them, as we are with all of our clients, to serve their mission. The turmoil the NRA faces today was self-inflicted. It could have been avoided. We deeply regret that it wasn’t.”
Yeah, I’d say if that’s the way you feel about a client, it’s time to call it quits.
I have a strong sense that the feeling is mutual, but the NRA didn’t have an official comment at deadline.