Clients Come and Clients Go.
In the twenty-plus years I spent in Honolulu running an advertising agency, we were blessed with some wonderful clients. The good ones knew how hard we were working for them, so they listened to what we were saying, and usually accepted our recommendations.
Difficult clients think nothing of wasting your time, then complaining about having to pay for it. One such client objected to being charged for copy revisions. “If I have to pay for copy revisions, what’s your incentive to get it right the first time?”
Ah, but on one memorable occasion, we—that is, my partner and I—made up our minds to fire a large, but very difficult client.
It was a large art gallery located right in the middle of Waikiki, catering almost exclusively to tourists. Their marketing person was disorganized and very demanding—always wanting things done at the last minute, fussing over simple advertising copy, and always complaining about our bill when, in fact, it was all her dithering and demands for rewrites that ran up the costs. They weren’t even nice people.
We finally agreed that they were just too much trouble … and we fired them. It caused a stir around town because agencies don’t fire clients; clients fire agencies!
About two years later, the scandal broke. It seems the gallery had been promoting and selling “original prints” by the famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali. One minor problem: the prints weren’t really originals, which means they had been selling near-worthless fakes for absurdly high prices. Eventually, the two top guys in the gallery were arrested, found guilty, and went to jail.
I guess you could say, when it came to firing a client, we picked the right one.