Yes, twice, I’ve had this happen:
… but it wasn’t my fault!
1. A Washington state advertising agency was testing ads for a Texas brand of beer in Dallas, Texas. The ads were so far off the mark, that we almost did have a chair tossed through the mirror. But the agency fired me, the moderator, after just the first two groups, and got someone else to do the other four sessions. Those ads never saw the light of day, and a few months later, the brand starting running the same ads they had run for years. Lesson: stand up for what’s obviously a big mistake, and you’ll suffer for it. At least temporarily.
2. A New York boutique agency had developed ads for a new rice cake product designed to be a snack at parties. The client was testing the ads in Omaha, Nebraska – (all stereotyping aside) which is about as far from boutique New York as one can get. The ads were laughed out of the room, so to speak. Again, the client dumped me for another moderator, and conducted several more sessions around the country. Two weeks later, the client fired the agency. The client retained me for many more subsequent projects. Lesson: stand up for what’s obviously a big mistake, and you’re eventually exonerated. Hopefully.