Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wal-Scam

Seconds out, round two. The whole $580m (£295m) Wal-Mart review has made fascinating reading and they're off again.

We haven't been following the Wal-Mart story on this side of the Atlantic with anything like as much detail, but because the retail giant kicks off its second review of its $580m advertising account it’s probably worth recapping.

In late October, Wal-Mart appointed Interpublic Group's DraftFCB and Aegis Group's Carat USA to handle its $580m advertising and media account accounts respectively.

That appointment was a major blow to long-time incumbent Omnicom Group agency GSD&M, not to mention the other shops involved in the pitch such as WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather and Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi.

Wal-Mart had already eliminated a further five agencies, including another incumbent, Bernstein-Rein, which is based in Kansas City and had worked for the retailer for 32 years.

Early on in the review, Julie Roehm, vice-president of marketing communications at Wal-Mart Stores, indicated there would be a change in direction for Wal-Mart and a move upmarket.

None of it was sounding very Wal-Mart like. Not surprising really, Roehm had joined from DaimlerChrysler where among other things she had been responsible for the 'Lingerie Bowl'.

Do you remember that sexist twaddle where models in underwear played American football. It stunk up the place and sponsor Dodge pulled out of the event.

Roehm just wasn't Wal-Mart. Anyway, she went ahead and appointed Draft FC, which should have been the end of it except she got fired, the agency sacked and the review started over.

Not only did it start over, but with the same search agency running the show - Select Resources International.

Roehm has been described elsewhere as being about fast cars, sex and rock and roll to, which just doesn't stack up to the Wal-Mart family values and station wagon way of life.

Now she has gone there are allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a junior colleague and funny goings on with DraftFCB, which was fired before it even began work.

There was talk of a famous lunch at Nobu with DraftFCB, which reads like a celebratory dinner -- except it was a month before the agency was officially awarded the account. The dinner is said to have ended with Roehm sitting on someone's lap, but I'm sure that kind of thing always happens at Nobu. Then there's reports of Julie riding in DraftFCB founder Howard Draft's Aston Martin, which I'm sure is very nice and only shows what a generous chap Mr Draft is.

There's much more to read on this on various US blogs and George Parker over at AdScam has done more than most. He's going to be blogging on Brand Republic in the New Year so get a taste now.

"The deja vue, Wal-Scam agency revue to take place in January, will be run by the same consultancy, Select Resources International, as last time, who will invite the same agency's (Minus Howard's mob, of course) to repitch... To which I have ask... Why... Why... Why? As I have said in previous posts, just pick whoever came in second last time, or leave it with Bernstein-Rein and GSD&M, the incumbents. What is the point of going through that shit again? If I was O&M, or the Martin Agency, or GSD&M, I would just say, you've seen what we considered to be the best we could do for you, so just make up your mind. Yeah, fucking right! Do you think for one minute that is going to happen? Whoever is working on the pitch at those three shops, and because of its size, that will be hundreds, can kiss Christmas and New Year goodbye..."

George also has a book out called MadScam and it seems only fair to plug it. Someone has done a very favourable review of it on Youtube, so take alook.


6 Comments:

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous russell said...

Excellent work getting George Parker aboard. I'm looking forward to that.

 
At 12:39 AM, Anonymous George Parker said...

Gordan
As I am sure you know by now, GSD&M has dropped out, more or less telling Wal-Mart they should shove the account up their arse. Kinda refreshing in these days of agencies all but prostituting themselves for even the dumbest account. The Martin Agency and O&M are still in. I am sure "The Poisoned Dwarf" (Sir Martin) is cracking the whip from his basement lair. If O&M fuck it up this time around - With only two finalists - Heads will roll on Eightth Avenue... Those poor fuckers must be sweating blood. Merry Christmas to all. Have a pint of Boddingtons for me.
Cheers/George

 
At 12:41 AM, Anonymous George Parker said...

Ooops...
You will stay behind after school and write GORDON on the blackboard eight trillion times... No Bodington for you Parker!
Cheers/Goerge

 
At 12:44 AM, Anonymous George Parker said...

Can't this man spell???
Depends on the ammount of "Writer Fluid" consumed.
Cheers/George

 
At 12:45 AM, Anonymous George Parker said...

Christ...
I give up!
George

 
At 4:01 PM, Blogger Mrs Belmot said...

This is probably quite interesting (I didn't read it) but what's MORE interesting is what you're doing for Christmas!

What are you doing for Christmas? Is there a Mrs Gordon, or do you rule a lonely Republic from a solitary ivory tower?

If so, keeping the radio on makes you feel less lonely (according to Good Housekeeping).

 

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