The Ad Agency Reverse Coup d’etat and Subsequent Retaliation

By Matt Van Hoven 

A source within MSA, out of Morrisville, North Carolina, says the story below is true. That makes two people. We’re told there was a bit of a mis-communication that led to what you’re about to read and that things are now back to normal. Nonetheless, it seems like the ad-folk in this agency have got some moxy, aka balls, aka chutzpah.

According to several different agency employees, Lewis Finch (President) and Jan Johnson (Vice President) of MSA, an ad agency in Morrisville, NC, were physically removed from their offices last week by officers of the parent company, Kowabunga (KOW). Then, evidently “employees and clients” rose up in their defense &#151 and they are back, and in the process of buying MSA back from KOW.

We contacted the agency representative, who declined to comment. But damn, what a story! FYI MSA was named Subway’s advertiser of the year. We posted a release from that announcement, after the jump.

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MSA, the Triangle area marketing and communications agency, received the prestigious “Agency of the Year” award by SUBWAY Restaurants &#151 the chain’s highest honor for Ad Agencies, at SUBWAY Restaurants’ annual Global Planning Summit held in Orlando.

Presented by SUBWAY Franchisee Advertising Trust Fund (SFAFT), the award is given each year to the agency that has demonstrated the highest-quality support for their markets, excellent media planning and buying with top tier posting, and innovative marketing and value-added initiatives. The entire SUBWAY® system consists of some 27 U.S. Advertising Agencies as well as agencies representing Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico.

“Many of our agency-partners achieved remarkable things last year and agency performance across the board was exceptional – making this a difficult decision. However, MSA demonstrated the ability to move the Subway business in its markets at an accelerated rate, managed the myriad details of their markets flawlessly, and provided great leadership to our Franchisees,” said Jeff Whitney, vice president of field marketing. “SUBWAY Restaurants’ ‘Agency of the Year’ is our highest honor and I’m delighted to recognize such a terrific partner. They earned this award through smart thinking and focused dedication toward building the Brand, along with exceptional sales and profit results,” Whitney said.

“It’s a tremendous honor for us,” said Lewis Finch, president, MSA. “We set high standards for our work with SUBWAY and for all of our clients. We greatly appreciate it when our hard work is recognized.”

MSA represents SUBWAY® in 27 U.S. markets, making the Triangle firm the second largest advertising agency in the entire SUBWAY system. In addition to the top agency honor, in November ’08, MSA took home five awards &#151 the most of any firm, at the SUBWAY Agency Summit held in New Orleans. The Summit is an annual series of meetings involving all SUBWAY system ad agencies in the U.S.