Wal-Mart Confirms DraftFCB, Carat


NEW YORK Wal-Mart has chosen Interpublic Group's DraftFCB and Aegis Group's Carat to handle creative and media duties, respectively, on the retailer's estimated $570 million account following a review.

In addition, DraftFCB has landed interactive duties, which also were in play.

The selections had been expected [Adweek Online, Oct. 25]. Wal-Mart today issued a statement confirming earlier Adweek Online reports.

"We're excited about the fully integrated approach that DraftFCB and Carat will provide us. They have assembled a dream team that can deliver creatively and seamlessly across all marketing solutions, including advertising, direct mail, interactive, promotions, retail and new and emerging media," said John Fleming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Wal-Mart.

DraftFCB and Carat pitched as a team, along with the former interactive arm of Foote, Cone & Belding known as FCBi. (FCBi and Draft's interactive capabilities have been combined following the June merger of Draft and FCB and will simply be a department of DraftFCB without a separate brand name.)

In the review's late stages, other contending teams were led by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, IPG's The Martin Agency and Omnicom Group's GSD&M, one of Wal-Mart's creative incumbents.

Roy Spence, president of GSD&M in Austin, Texas, said, "Losing sucks, but what are you going to do? We had a great ride for 20 years, I got to hang out with Sam Walton, and we were part of building the largest retailer in the world. Not bad for kids from Austin."

Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi in New York had reached the final round, but withdrew after adding the $400 million account of J.C. Penney [Adweek Online, Sept. 1].

Another incumbent, Bernstein-Rein, an independent agency in Kansas City, Mo., did not reach the finals.

Consultancy Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., oversaw the review process.

Wal-Mart of late has given its print and television ads a more upscale look in an effort to move away from its price-oriented messages.

The client this summer launched a campaign touting Wal-Mart's pharmacies that introduced "Go ahead. Script your life" as a theme.

In February, Wal-Mart debuted an effort tagged "Look beyond the basics." The ads touted Metro 7, a clothing line targeting fashion-conscious urban women.

Wal-Mart's review process has generated some controversy, as the retail giant dropped Tribal DDB from a team pitching its account after the agency publicly denied a relationship it had with the retail giant, sources said [Adweek Online, Sept. 7]. Tribal in Dallas was part of Omnicom sibling GSD&M's team. It had been working on Wal-Mart digital assignments while its office in Chicago simultaneously worked for client rival J.C. Penney, sources said.

Tribal's relationship with Wal-Mart came up recently as parent DDB scrambled to hang onto the $430 million J.C. Penney account, which shifted to Saatchi.

In a separate contest that wrapped up in August, Wal-Mart unit Sam's Club awarded its $15 million account to New York independent StrawberryFrog. That assignment had been at GSD&M.

—with Richard Williamson

This story updates and replaces items posted Oct. 25 and Oct. 27 with client confirmation and other details.