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Inside S.C. Johnson's RFI

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S.C. Johnson seems fixated on process, proprietary tools and effectiveness.

Those are some of the key words that pop up most often in a request for information circulating among interested agencies in S.C. Johnson’s global review of marketing services, which began in December. In short, the maker of Pledge, Windex and Raid wants to know as much about how agencies work as the work they produce.

In separate sections, the 16-page RFI probes agency capabilities in integrated marketing, global brand building, strategy, creative, media, promotions, digital/direct/CRM marketing and account management/operations.

The latter section asks shops to “describe how you are able to effectively, flexibly and cost affordably deploy your agency talent and resources for a global client” and how you “help your clients drive down significant costs while maintaining a quality product.” In particular, S.C. Johnson is interested in how agencies have trimmed the cost of marketing and production—be it in traditional, digital or promotional marketing.

Sources estimated that less than a dozen agencies received the document. Replies were due on Friday, followed by an additional 13 case histories by Feb. 18, according to a time line in the RFI. Based on the submissions, the client will invite a more select group to participate in a round of capabilities presentations in mid-March.

In play are traditional advertising duties, media duties, direct marketing efforts, promotional efforts, digital marketing and retail marketing. Total revenue is estimated at $80 million-$90 million.

The incumbents—including Interpublic Group units Draftfcb (lead creative duties), R/GA (digital), Initiative (media), Mullen (Shout) and WPP Group’s OgilvyAction (retail marketing)—have been invited to defend. R3:JLB in Chicago is managing the process.

Draftfcb, which also handles some media planning and direct marketing duties on select brands, has the most business at risk, given that S.C. Johnson is its largest global client. Sources estimate that the Racine, Wis.-based client supplies some $50 million in revenue to the shop annually.

In the RFI, S.C. Johnson describes itself as a family-owned and -managed business with more than $8 billion in annual sales and about 12,000 employees.