The Home Depot has shifted the bulk of its media assignment from Interpublic Group's Initiative to Aegis Group's Carat after a review, the client has confirmed.
The client spent $420 million on ads last year and $450 million in 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures exclude digital.
After a transition period, Carat will assume most traditional and digital duties, with the exception of paid search, which will shift from Interpublic Group's Reprise to an in-house unit at Home Depot, the client confirmed. IPG's NSA will continue to handle newspaper planning and buying, and sister agency Octagon will continue to handle events.
The shift comes only about two years after Home Depot completed a lengthy media review and opted to retain Initiative. Carat was a finalist in that review, and sources indicate that there were signs of a growing rift in the relationship between Initiative and Home Depot from the start of the renewal period.
The two firms battled over terms of the new contract, per sources. Home Depot, which persuaded Initiative to reduce its fees in order to retain the business, insisted that the new rates take effect immediately. Meanwhile, Initiative wanted the higher fees to continue through the life of the existing contract, which had another three months to run.
That sticking point, back in early 2009, led the client to threaten to rescind the renewal and award the account to Carat, per sources. Initiative then backed down and agreed to immediately accept lower fees.
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