CHICAGO-This much is not in dispute: Alan Epstein left Kupper Parker Communications in St. Louis to join Adamson Advertising across town, and the $4 million regional Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken account-which includes most of Texas-made the same move.
All other facts remain clouded amid accusations and disagreements about whether Epstein and the Popeyes account team were fired from KPC or quit.
"It's a tough business," said Bruce Kupper, managing partner of KPC. The shop has been a regional agency for Popeyes for 14 years, Kupper said. Its business had grown to include Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, plus Texas (except Houston) won last February from Dallas agency Dally.
Love Advertising in Houston still handles 72 Popeyes sites in its home city as well as East Texas.
Epstein had been with KPC for 16 years. He was a partner and the head of new business until Aug. 14. On that afternoon, Kupper said Epstein and two Popeyes account people were "asked to leave" after they were caught making copies of key Popeyes documents.
Epstein said he resigned, and that he has a letter of resignation to back him up. "How could I be fired at 1:20 [p.m.] and have another job by 2:40 [p.m.]?" he asked.
Epstein said he had longstanding differences with fellow executives at KPC. "I resigned for reasons that had accumulated over a longtime period," he said, although he declined to elaborate. "I don't want to get into mudslinging," he added.
Kupper said Epstein's move violated a noncompete agreement, and that he is considering legal action. Epstein said the client's decision was completely its own. "It really is more conducive for the client to be at Adamson," Epstein said. "The client would not move [the account] if it wasn't to their benefit."