After eight years of President Obama’s support of antigunners, however hollow, NRA executives and their deeply-entwined ad agency were fat, happy and overly complacent. The fight was on! Until late 2016, when suddenly it wasn’t.
It is clear the rot had been building for awhile. Now the pool of dollars was shrinking and however you care to characterize the tussle between Wayne LaPierre, Oliver North, ad agency Ackerman-McQueen (to which PR had been hugely and expensively outsourced) and various factions of the Board of Directors, one thing stands out: they’re fighting over money.
Gun rights ain’t in it.
It’s not surprising that cash flow was drying up: issue-oriented operations flourish when they can point to visible threats. Eventually, if things are going your way, the famine lurks with intent to loom.
And it helps if everyone is on the same page:
Ack-Mac never gave a flip about the Second Amendment, and why should they? They’re an advertising agency; caring about anything but the bottom line is a huge drawback in that line of work and the way you keep an ad agency toeing the mark is to ensure that getting your message across is crucial to their income. Instead, Ack-Mac was given a great deal of freedom to determine what the message should be, and the end result was more than a little inward-looking and self-serving. And out of touch with a lot of the membership.
NRA’s executives, meanwhile, isolated from much of the hurly-burly of messaging and outreach, appear to have relied on what Ack-Mac was telling them, and on having a compliant, bloated Board of Directors that could be counted on to rubber-stamp whatever the leadership wanted.
A three-decade business relationship soured seemingly just like that; earlier this year the NRA accused Ack-Mac of overbilling and fired them. So we end up with the Warren Zevon trifecta: lawyers, guns and money, and indeed the shit has hit the fan.