Kmart Goes to DraftFCB

NEW YORK Kmart has awarded creative chores on its estimated $200 million U.S. ad account to Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB without a review, the client has confirmed.

WPP Group’s Grey in New York had handled the business since August 2003. That shop will now assist in the transition to DraftFCB.

“We believe this agreement with DraftFCB will move Kmart a step closer toward its goals for the business and the brand,” said Bill Stewart, Kmart’s CMO, in a statement. “As a company, we’re committed to building lifetime relationships with our customers and DraftFCB has a proven track record of helping its clients achieve success by utilizing a full range of marketing tools and capabilities.”

“We’re very much looking forward to working with Kmart,” said Howard Draft, chairman and CEO of DraftFCB. “Our two organizations have a shared commitment to accountability and creativity. We’re looking forward to working together to uncover human insights that will incite consumer behavior in creative and measurable ways.”

The scope of work includes television, magazine and radio advertising, customer analysis and strategy, data analysis, customer relationship marketing and branding work.

The development follows DraftFCB’s ouster from the $570 million Wal-Mart account in December amid allegations that the retailer’s strict code of ethics was broken by former client marketing executive Julie Roehm. Roehm and Wal-Mart are now embroiled in bitter legal action.

DraftFCB in Chicago, formed last year through the merger of Draft and FCB, had won Wal-Mart following a review that concluded in October, but was stripped of the business and barred from competing when the account was re-pitched. That second review was won by IPG’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

Kmart’s media is currently in play as Sears reviews buying for both Kmart and its namesake brand. WPP Group’s MindShare and MEC Interaction, the incumbents, are defending. Also competing are Aegis’ Carat, independent Horizon Media, Havas’ MPG, Omnicom’s PHD and Publicis Groupe’s Zenith.

This marks the second influx of national business in as many days for DraftFCB, following its addition yesterday of the estimated $40 million Kraft Lunchables account.