Furniture retailer Ikea quietly launched phase one of an ambitious Web site early this fall, and already the new media shop hired to produce the site has been dropped from the account.
Kelly Rodriques, chief executive officer of Novo Media Group in San Francisco, confirmed that his shop had been dropped from the assignment by Deutsch Inc., New York. Deutsch had hired Novo to a three-year deal in which Novo was a subcontractor to Deutsch, Ikea’s lead interactive agency. The relationship was cut short following the completion of the corporate site (www.ikea.com), phase one in a three-part, multiyear rollout. One source said the assignment was worth some $250,000 in annual revenue for Novo. However, Rodriques said that Novo was continuing to work with Stockholm-based Ikea on a separate project, an email application.
Adam Levine, senior vice president and client services director at Deutsch, said, “They were contracted to do the first phase of the project, which finished.” He added that it is too early in the project for Deutsch to consider assigning any further Ikea work to a new interactive shop. Ikea officials could not be reached.
Phase one, according to Levine, is a brochurelike marketing site offering product information and a store directory. Deutsch, which beat out two European shops for the business last year, is outlining the retailer’s online strategy and will implement all of Ikea’s North American interactive products. Levine said the next phase will likely include features such as electronic commerce.
Novo was originally brought in by Deutsch and introduced to Ikea. A former Deutsch staffer said that while Novo was working on the project, it was also pursuing its own relationship with Ikea.
“The lines started to blur because Novo has an entrepreneurial spirit,” the former employee said. Novo “looked for levels of opportunity with Ikea. . .[that] caused distraction from getting the site done and launched.”
As for Novo, Rodriques said, “We are no longer working with Deutsch, we’re working with Ikea. . .there was a lack of clarity of positioning [of the two agencies] that created problems.”
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