Ikea Furnishes Shops With RFP

Ikea’s new agency must be compatible with the “non-hierarchical, unconventional, simple and cost-conscious” culture of the client, according to sources who re-ceived a proposal request sent to about 20 agencies last week.

The last quality may be especially important. Compensation disputes played a role in Carmichael Lynch’s decision not to defend the business, sources said. Similar issues played a role in Ikea’s split with its previous agency, Deutsch in New York.

Ikea and the Minneapolis incumbent agreed to part late last month after a 10-month relationship. Sources suggested the resulting review could be very labor-intensive over a three-month period [Ad-week, Nov. 26].

Ikea is also looking for a shop that can “deliver brilliant, strategic creative,” which is also “bold, brave, clever, human and innovative,” ac-cording to the RFP sent out by Pile and Co., the Boston consultant that is running the review.

The 20 agencies contacted by Ikea include New York shops BBDO, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Merkley Newman Harty and Saatchi & Saatchi, according to sources. Arnold and Hill, Holiday, Connors, Cosmopulos, both in Boston, and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., were also contacted, sources said. Deutsch, despite its differences with the client at the end of its stint on the business, has offered its services but will not take part in a full-blown review, sources said.

The East Coast-heavy list is in line with the RFP’s preference for an agency based near the retailer’s home in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

The new agency will have to prove its knowledge of U.S. and Canadian markets, as the company plans to open 50 stores over the next 10 years. Ikea is also looking for ethnic marketing abilities, according to the RFP.

The winning agency must also have media, interactive and direct marketing capabilities either in-house or through alliances with outside firms.