Comment on Ad Age Article: To Defend or Not To Defend?

As an agency search consultant, and someone who has also spent time on the client and agency sides, I insist on our clients being honest with incumbent agencies regarding the retention odds.

There are dozens of reasons an account goes into review, but in too many instances the review could have been avoided if the agency was smarter in the relationship-management area. For instance, agencies should always be re-pitching the business to avoid getting to a formal review stage.

And if there is a key client change, consider it an unofficial notice to re-pitch. Have a day or series of meetings to get the new person up to speed and, more importantly, learn about his/her views and goals. You’d be surprised at how many agencies don’t do this.

If you find your agency in the unfortunate situation of having to defend, put the ego aside and objectively determine why the account is in review, what your odds of retention are, and if this really is a marriage worth saving.

But also realize that corporate politics can be incomprehensible and beyond your control (as well as your key contact’s), and you may never really know the truth behind the review. As a few CMOs have said to me, the first bullet has the agency’s name on it.

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Celebrity Cruises Names PGR Media As New Media AOR

NEW YORK – Celebrity Cruises has named PGR Media of Boston, Ma as its new media agency of record for its U.S. traditional and interactive media account, according to Laura Bajkowski of Bajkowski + Partners, the agency search consultant.

MPG Boston, Ma, had previously serviced the account for nearly six years, but resigned the business after winning the +$80 million Carnival Cruise Lines account with sister creative agency, Arnold Boston.
Estimated at more than $18 million in combined media spend, the assignment includes all traditional and digital media, except SE0/SEM, for the Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises account. Wayne Wielgus, who recently joined the cruise line as senior vice president of marketing, had worked with the MPG team at his previous post, Choice Hotels International, and was always pleased with the agency’s work. While he will miss the MPG team, Wielgus expressed his enthusiasm for “finding an independent media shop that can deliver big agency thinking and the ability to respond quickly to the demands of the cruise business.” He added, “PGR Media will integrate well with our creative agencies, Sapient and Element 79, and take our business to the next level.”
The list of other agency participants was not disclosed.
About Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises

Celebrity and Azamara, units of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, offer comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise experiences with highly personalized service, exceptional dining, and extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, California, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the Pacific Coast, Panama Canal and South America. The line also offers unique cruisetour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and South America.

This year, Azamara Cruises presents the best of South America and the Panama Canal, elite Asia, the most captivating Caribbean and enchanting Europe.

About Bajkowski + Partners LLC

Headquartered in New York City, Bajkowski + Partners is a specialized consulting firm providing global and regional clients with marketing management and agency search consulting services that deliver customized solutions to today’s business challenges. Laura Bajkowski is managing principal of Bajkowski + Partners and can be reached at Laura@Bajkowski‐ or ++212.226.3919.

©2008 Bajkowski + Partners LLC. All Rights Reserved.