Coors Now Really, Truly Leaves Draftfcb (Updated)

By Kiran Aditham 

We had no idea there were remnants of the Coors account still lingering at Draftfcb since it was reported last summer that MillerCoors moved its entire account out of said agency and into the newly created, Chicago-based WPP entity called Cavalry. Yet, a memo we received that was sent from Draftfcb Canada president to staff yesterday evening says otherwise, though as you’ll see after the jump, the relationship between the brew brand and DFCB now truly appears to be over.

Along with the Coors biz now fully aligning with Cavalry (which sources familiar with the matter have confirmed), Mead’s note, which is essentially a recap of a Draftfcb Canada town hall meeting yesterday, mentions the departure of longtime VP/management director, Darrell Hurst as well other management mentions. We’re getting some further clarification and/or official comment on the matters at hand, but from talking to sources, Mead’s note appears to legit. Read verbatim after the jump (FYI, the “John” that Mead refers to in the memo is Draftfcb Canada COO, John Boniface).

“I wanted to send out a note to the agency to ensure that those of you who were unable to attend the Town Hall at 3:30 are aware of our discussions today.

First, I wanted to share with you the news that Coors notified us late Friday that they have decided to move to another agency. The Coors creative will be aligned with their US agency who will produce North American creative. Local adaptation has been assigned to another agency. This is sad news, and I wanted to acknowledge all the hard work that many people have put into this account over the years. We should be very proud as our work has consistently driven up Coors’ market share.

The good news is that, although we were hoping to keep the business, we did have a contingency plan in the budget for this loss. As a result, with NY Corporate support, we avoid a restructuring, instead reallocating the people who worked on Coors to other accounts. That said, unfortunately I do need to let you know that as a result of this, we do have to say goodbye to one of senior colleagues, Darrell Hurst. He has been with us for the past 9.5 years and worked on many clients including CMA, WSIB and OTMP, in addition to Coors. His contributions have been significant over these years and we thank him for his leadership. Darrell will be leaving us this week. The folks who reported into Darrell will be reassigned to other accounts this week.

I also wanted to make you aware of another change relating to leadership. Succession planning is important to any company and, for some time, we (New York, John and I) have been working on a transition that would see John succeed me. However, John advised me early in the year that he had made a very personal and difficult decision to leave the agency. After 13 years with the agency, and 24 years in the business, he will be taking some well-deserved time off and contemplate options for the next phase in his career. He will be staying to the middle of April to focus on business development and an overall transition.

I sincerely want to thank John for his leadership, dedication and outstanding contribution to the organization. On a personal level, John has been my partner here for 13 years. Many of the successes we have experienced are due, in large part, to John. I cannot thank him enough for an unbelievable 13 years.

We will be searching for a new President to fulfill the lead role for the Group of Companies and the Toronto Office, and I will be staying throughout the year to support the transition.

As we look forward we should feel confident that we can quickly replace the lost Coors revenues. We have a very robust new business pipeline. It’s all about growth, and we are well positioned to bounce back quickly.

The Toronto office management team will report into me, and I know that you will continue to support them as we move forward.

Best regards,
Paul Mead”

Update: Well, the Draftfcb camp clarifies that they did continue working on MolsonCoors assignments in Canada even after MillerCoors decided to move its business elsewhere last May. Now, here’s today’s statement confirming the end to the relationship:

 “We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done with Molson Coors over the past 28 years, especially the strong results we have achieved together. While this move was not unexpected, we are still disappointed by the decision. We wish Molson Coors continued success.”