Lowe’s Is the Latest Client to Abandon the Agency of Record Approach

By Patrick Coffee 

Lowe’s confirmed today that it has launched a creative review and will no longer be working with creative agencies on an AOR basis. The news first ran in Adweek.

This is bad for BBDO, which has been creative agency of record on the brand for more than a decade, and for its parent company Omnicom, which already lost the media portion of the business back in February.

From a company spokesperson:


As we continue to explore compelling and efficient ways to engage with consumers, we made the decision to evolve our agency business model to one where we can collaborate with a roster of creative agencies. We believe this new approach will provide our team with the diverse thought, talent and capabilities needed to lead in a dynamic marketing environment.

We are currently working independently on the bidding process. BBDO is participating in the review process to be considered as one of the firms on our roster of creative agencies. We are just beginning the bidding process and can share more details in the coming months.

BBDO first won the business in a 2005 review, beating out Deutsch, McCann and TBWA\Chiat\Day in an IPG vs. Omnicom pitch. It has successfully defended the account twice since then.

According to a couple of people who spoke to us, this is a procurement-based review that gained greater urgency when the incoming CMO Jocelyn Wong conducted an audit and found that Lowe’s spends a considerable amount on TV and print placements; much of BBDO’s recent work has been more focused on digital and social media.

The client’s paid budget came out to $400 million last year, but it’s not clear how much of that went to traditional media and much revenue BBDO draws from the account.

Nor is it clear which agencies are pitching—though it would not be surprising to see a small group of independent shops win portions of the business, as they did in the case of General Mills earlier this year.

[Pic via Lowe’s]