The National Rifle Association and its former agency Ackerman McQueen (AM) have exchanged another round of salvos, this time over the organization’s decision to shutter live production for its NRATV channel.
Those production chores were handled by the ad agency, which said it is owed millions for work already done on behalf of its former client.
In an open letter posted on the NRA website, the organization’s CEO Wayne LaPierre wrote: “Many members expressed concern about the messaging on NRATV becoming too far removed from our core mission: defending the Second Amendment.”
Some of the content produced on the site was critical of certain U.S. federal agencies and pushed conservative stands on issues like immigration policy.
LaPierre wrote the shuttering was part of an overhaul of the group’s communication strategy necessitated by AM’s failure “to deliver upon many contractual obligations it made to our Association. “
Looking ahead, the NRA chief added: “We will energize our messaging strategy, become more cost-efficient, and promote the NRA’s singular focus like never before. Simply put, our messaging strategy will advance the NRA’s core mission: to serve our members and fight for our Second Amendment."
Ackerman McQueen responded today with a statement that read in part: “The NRA is attempting to avoid the strict financial obligations it undertook when it outsourced its work to Ackerman McQueen. NRA has the obligation to pay several millions of dollars of delinquent payments for work already completed that has benefited the NRA. They are refusing to pay, in part to harm AMc, but also because the NRA probably is having trouble meeting its financial obligations in large measure due to massive unbudgeted legal costs.”
The relationship between the gun-rights group and its agency imploded earlier this year amid an exchange of lawsuits; each side accused the other of violating terms of their contractual agreement, among other charges.
The agency added in its statement today that it is “not surprised the NRA is unwilling to honor its agreement to end our contract and our longstanding relationship in an orderly and amicable manner, as Ackerman McQueen proposed, because we believed it was in the best interest of the members of the NRA. When given the opportunity to do the right thing, the NRA once again has taken action that we believe is intended to harm our company, even at the expense of the NRA itself.”
The NRA has indicated it will commence a formal search for a new agency, although it has not spelled out precisely the timing of that search.
Two holding companies — Interpublic and Publicis Groupe — have preemptively indicated they would not participate in the NRA’s agency search process.