Bates Is Kicked While It’s Down

Already hobbled by the loss of the national Hyundai account, Bates USA West has now lost another key piece of business, Pacific Sunwear.

The apparel retailer confirmed it is terminating its relationship with Bates’ struggling Irvine, Calif., office and reviewing its $10 million creative and media account.

The client said the decision was directly tied to the departure of the $160 million Hyundai account.

“Because of the substantial loss of the Hyundai business, we feel they will be unable to continue to service our account,” said PacSun director of marketing Carol Apkarian. She noted that several key members of the PacSun account team had left Bates and were not replaced, including svp of strategic planning Mark Weinfeld, who is now at Doner in Newport Beach, Calif.

Executives at Bates declined to comment.

PacSun in Anaheim, Calif., is now considering three undisclosed Southern California shops, each of which employs former PacSun account team members from Bates, and plans to select one in the next few days, Ap karian said.

Bates handled PacSun for three years. “Pacific Sunwear has, up until a month ago, been extremely happy with the service we’ve received from Bates and all of the people there,” Apkarian said.

She said PacSun is “extremely happy” with its current campaign, and is looking for a shop to adapt the strategy.

A print effort that broke in March includes two-page spreads and four-page units tagged, “California native since 1980.” They use social scenes to target teenage girls—a departure from the previous strategy of depicting sports participation.

With Hyun dai creative heading to The Richards Group in Dallas and its national media with Carat in Los Angeles, Bates is left with just two accounts: the Hyun dai dealer business, which the agency said is worth $180 million through the national and local dealer associations, and Aramark Uniform Services, which spends less than $1 million, per CMR.

Bates’ contract with the dealers lasts through Sept. 30. However, Richards presented capabilities to the Hyundai dealer association’s creative committee last week and is meeting with individual dealer groups this week, a Richards Group representative said. The dealers are also negotiating with Carat for the media portion of the account.