Keurig Dr Pepper and H-E-B, a grocery store chain in Texas, have ended their relationships with The Richards Group.
Their decisions come days after Motel 6, one of the agency’s longtime clients, fired The Richards Group upon learning that its founder, Stan Richards, called an ad concept for the hotel chain “too Black” and suggested that its customers are white supremacists. Home Depot has also stopped working with the agency as a result.
“At H-E-B, each and every person counts, and we proudly embrace this belief throughout our company and the communities we serve,” the company said in a statement. “The derogatory and racially charged remarks made by Stan Richards have no place at H-E-B nor in the communities we serve. As soon as we learned about this egregious situation we commenced discussions with TRG and have since ended our business relationship with The Richards Group.”
A spokesperson for Keurig Dr Pepper, which owns soft drink brands including Sunkist and A&W, said in a statement that it stands against “discriminatory acts or speech of any kind and expect everyone associated with our business to hold themselves to the same standards. As a result, we are ending our work with The Richards Group.”
Keurig Dr Pepper’s spokesperson added that the agency has done select project work for a number of its brands. The independent agency created various campaigns for H-E-B throughout their partnership, including many commercials starring the San Antonio Spurs.
Following Motel 6’s decision to terminate its partnership with the agency, which lasted more than 30 years, Richards sent a statement to nitronet regarding his remarks.
He did not mention the white supremacy comments, but said that during a recent meeting in which he was reviewing a multicultural campaign for the client, he “misspoke and commented using words I greatly regret, including three I never should have said: ‘It’s too black.’ To be clear, though, I have never used racial slurs about any ethnic group nor tolerated it from anyone around me.”
In December, Richards named Glenn Dady, who joined the agency in 1980, as his successor. Dady, principal and creative director at The Richards Group, began managing the agency’s day-to-day operations at the start of this year. According to The Richards Group, “all” agency operations are now being run by Dady, but Richards is still with the agency, which he has owned since its inception.