Richards Keeps Home Depot Creative

NEW YORK The Home Depot has retained The Richards Group in Dallas to handle creative duties on its $580 million ad account after a review, the client has confirmed.

Sources identified the other finalists as WPP Group’s JWT in New York, Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas and Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday in Boston.

Final presentations took place Nov. 10 and 12 at Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters, said sources. Each agency got about two hours to pitch, including 30 minutes for questions, according to sources. The finalists had emerged from a field of seven shops that the retailer visited in September.

Agency CEO Stan Richards said: “Our client is putting all their services companies through a mandatory review process to ensure that they have the right partner to meet their needs. We were the second agency to go through the process and we worked as hard as you would expect us to in order to prove that we were, in fact, the right partner.”

In a statement, Home Depot chief marketing officer Frank Bifulco said he was pleased with the decision to keep Richards, adding, “We look forward to building this relationship in the future.”

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., managed the process.

The traditional advertising creative review was the first of several that Home Depot plans to conduct. Next up is a media competition, which will also be managed by SRI, a client representative said. IPG’s Initiative in Atlanta is the incumbent on the business.

This is Richards’ second major win this week following its triumph in the review for Farmers Insurance.

Home Depot is looking to reposition itself in an increasingly competitive marketplace that includes Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Sears, as well as hardware outlets, paint stores and appliance chains.

The company’s initial RFP noted that in the past five years it has “lost its competitive advantage on all key brand drivers” and now compares unfavorably to Lowe’s on shopping experience and is about equal in terms of products, inspiration, price and experience.