Starbucks splits with ad agency

SEATTLE Starbucks and its ad agency for the past four years, Wieden + Kennedy, have parted ways over reported creative differences.

Starbucks, which has been struggling with slowing sales and has taken a number of steps to reverse the trend, recently decided to evaluate its advertising. It asked a number of agencies for their ideas, but Wieden declined to participate.

“There are times when it just makes sense to part ways with a client,” agency chief executive Dan Wieden said in a statement.

The agency created Starbucks’ first national TV campaign, which aired during last year’s Christmas season, after Starbucks reported a surprising decline in customer traffic.

The coffee chain has been trying to revive sales since the beginning of the year. During the third quarter, which ended June 30, Starbucks reported a same-store sales decline in the “mid-single digits.” Analysts estimated the decline was as much as 7 percent.