Friday, December 08, 2006

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT://Scandal over Wal-Mart review

Here's a present for the week's lazy Friday. It's from Wal-Mart, that apparently dug up some dirt over their much talked about account review. It's valued at $580m. The creative portion was awarded to DraftFCB (Interpublic), the media buying to Carat (Aegis).

What happened earlier? The review ended up a big win for DraftFCB, a newly formed shop at the plagued Interpublic group. The AdAge site had two articles describing how the deal happened. (It's a paid site, but I just happened to have saved them over here.)

The hookup is sure to go down as one of the most talked-about account shifts in
ad history, up there with IBM's 1994 consolidation at Ogilvy, a move that saw
Big Blue jettison 80 other shops.


Chemistry between Wal-Mart's Julie Roehm and DraftFCB's Howard Draft was instrumental to bringing the deal to DraftFCB. (Never mind Howard's Aston Martin didn't want to cooperate in delivering a thrilling experience to Julie.) Now Ms. Roehm is fired and Wal-Mart is reopening the review. DraftFCB may not participate (other Interpublic shops are allowed, as is Carat).

I wonder what could have happened. Two quotes from the articles:
"And we spent a lot of time with Howard Draft, which is educational and
entertaining."
Ad Age: You mentioned before that Howard Draft is, among other things,
entertaining. I hear you got to take a ride in his Aston Martin. Can you tell me
about that? Ms. Roehm: He does have an Aston Martin, and I got to go down and
sit in it because I'm a car nut. We were out and he asked if I wanted to drive
it around the block. I said, "Wow, could I?" So I got in and it didn't start. He
had to have it towed. Ad Age: You obviously didn't hold the engine problem
against him. Ms. Roehm: I can assure you I had nothing to do with it.

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