But, I'm all about focusing about the bits in the undercurrent. Here's what interests me.
As Hicks explained to me (again, weeks before the Miller spat), Crispin's core philosophy demands total control over every nook and cranny of a brand's image. Crispin wrote and recorded the hold music for Burger King's corporate headquarters; designed the look of all the food packaging; and came up with the response BK counter-workers bark out when you order ("Nice order!"). They chose the uniforms for Mini Cooper's sales staff. When they started work for Haggar, a men's apparel company, they went so far as to consult on the clothing designs. ("Marketing is sometimes the fact that you have double-stitched pockets," says Hicks.) Increasingly—and this is the case with Haggar—Crispin even takes an ownership stake in the brands it partners with.
While Stevenson paints this as a sort of act of aggression (partner with us, only if we can DJ your hold music), it does bring up a good point. To clients, whoever you want to create your external-facing messages should have some say (or look in) in all of your outward functions. The buzzword is "partnership," either by force or compliance, at least Crispin can call itself relationship with clients a true partnership. If you can trust them with your ads, you should trust them with your music.