Home Depot, MRM Split Up

MRM, the direct and digital marketing unit of Interpublic Group’s McCann Worldgroup, has split with Home Depot, just nine months after landing digital and customer relationship management duties for the retailer, according to an internal MRM e-mail.

Sources attributed the split to Home Depot requesting work beyond the original scope without paying additional compensation. Account revenue is estimated at $12 million.

In the e-mail, MRM New York managing director Corey Mitchell wrote that “for reasons based on a fair exchange of services and a mutual inability to arrive at realistic expectations, we are choosing to walk away from our relationship with The Home Depot completely.”

Mitchell acknowledged that Home Depot represented a “great opportunity” for his agency, which had invested the “best of our talent” on the business. “It is a shame to have to walk away after so much, but it is not a viable business relationship for us,” Mitchell added.

Mitchell did not return a message seeking additional information. In a statement, Home Depot confirmed the breakup, saying simply that “after a few months of working together, we felt it would be in our best interest to end our work with MRM.”

Asked about the retailer’s future plans for the business, a client representative said: “We are working with other agency partners on our digital and CRM projects.”

Home Depot, which last year spent about $450 million in major measured media, according to Nielsen, employs a roster of agencies for different tasks. For example, its lead agency for advertising is independent The Richards Group in Dallas and its lead media shop is Interpublic’s Initiative in Atlanta. The brand’s media spending in the first half exceeded $260 million, per Nielsen.

From late 2008 through early 2010, Home Depot conducted a series of reviews—for general market creative duties, media duties, digital/CRM duties and Hispanic market duties.

The digital/CRM review concluded in January with the hiring of MRM. At the time, sources identified the other contenders as WPP Group’s Wunderman, Omnicom Group’s Rapp, IPG’s Huge and then-incumbent Digitas, a Publicis Groupe shop. Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., managed the search.