Office Depot Moves Its Entire Account to Zimmerman Without a Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Office Depot OfficeMax has ended its relationship with Interpublic Group after approximately two and a half years and moved its entire account to Zimmerman Advertising without a review. According to several sources, the company did not issue an RFP and no agencies beyond Zimmerman were considered.

McCann New York and UM had been handling the chain’s creative and media duties, respectively, since 2014. Moving forward, it will all be with the Omnicom shop.

The chain’s headquarters in Boca Raton is quite close to the Fort Lauderdale-based agency, and the two parties have worked together before: Zimmerman won the business in 2011 after Office Depot split with Y&R. As in this case, there was no review.

A Zimmerman spokesperson deferred to the client on the news today. We reached out to multiple executives at Office Depot, but none have responded to our queries.

A McCann spokesperson provided the following statement:

“We have enjoyed our relationship with Office Depot Office Max.  It has become obvious over the last few months that we needed to end our relationship. We are very proud of the work we delivered over the past couple of years. We want to thank ODOM for the opportunities they have given us and wish them every success.”

We hear that McCann and UM were not directly aware of the pending loss, though the end of the relationship may have been inevitable. Last summer, McCann’s production house Craft Worldwide absorbed Staples’ creative studio after that company dropped mcgarrybowen, thereby creating a potential conflict of interest with its other office supply chain client.

The two businesses had made plans to merge in 2015, but the FTC challenged the proposal that December, arguing that it would “significantly reduce competition nationwide in the market for ‘consumable’ office supplies sold to large business customers for their own use.” Both parties then abandoned the merger after a federal judge agreed with the Fed’s decision and blocked the deal.

Office Depot has been through some significant changes since then as well. Last August, CEO Roland Smith announced his plans to resign, and the company named Gerry Smith, former EVP and COO at Lenovo, as his replacement last month.

We hear that the executive shift made the agency move more urgent and that Jordan Zimmerman’s existing relationship with the client’s svp of marketing played a role in the decision not to issue an RFP. His agency often emphasizes its reputation for retail-focused work in pitches.

At least one source claims that Office Depot has not been particularly active on the campaign front in recent months and that McCann/UM had lowered their rates accordingly. The most recent big project was a holiday effort.

According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, Office Depot spent approximately $54.3 million on measured media in 2015 and $60 million from January to November of 2016.

This marks the second win in recent weeks for Zimmerman, which also took on a more prominent role servicing the Nissan business when the auto brand consolidated its accounts on the East Coast, moving away from TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. after more than three decades.