Wal-Mart Selects Martin, MediaVest

DALLAS Wal-Mart has chosen Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency and Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest for creative and media chores, respectively, on its $570 million ad account after a second review in less than three months, the client has confirmed.

Consultancy Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., oversaw both Wal-Mart reviews.

“We have an unusual opportunity to work with some super talented people to do something really important for Wal-Mart,” said John Adams Jr., CEO of Martin. “We’re going to be talking with them early next week about details and what needs to be done. But I don’t have any of those details now.”

Longtime Wal-Mart roster agency GSD&M had declined an invitation to participate in the second pitch for the retailer’s account.

The second competition was launched to replace Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB of Chicago, which in October won creative chores in the first Wal-Mart review. DraftFCB was stripped of the high-profile business amid considerable turmoil [Adweek Online, Dec. 7]. DraftFCB was not eligible to participate in the second review.

Along with GSD&M, WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather in New York and IPG’s Martin in Richmond, Va., were finalists in the first review.

Aegis Group media agency Carat in New York had teamed with DraftFCB to win last time around. Carat pitched in the second contest, as did WPP’s Mediaedge:cia in New York.

Another Wal-Mart incumbent, Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City, Mo., was eliminated before the first review’s final round and did not compete in the second competition.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer in December abruptly dismissed DraftFCB, following the departure of two key client marketing executives—Julie Roehm and Sean Womack. Sources said the pair had violated the company’s policy on accepting gratuities from potential vendors [Adweek Online, Dec. 11].

Of late, Roehm had attempted to push Wal-Mart’s advertising in a hipper new direction. Recent efforts focused on fashion, selection and convenience, rather than low prices.

Wal-Mart has also added three specialty shops: IPG-backed GlobalHue in Southfield, Mich., (for African-American marketing); and independents IW Group in Los Angeles (Asian-American duties) and Lopez Negrete in Houston (Hispanic chores).

“We’ve assembled a top-tier group of marketing partners that have deep retail experience, recognized creativity and an understanding of our customers,” said John Fleming, CMO of Wal-Mart.

—with Kathleen Sampey and Richard Williamson

This story updates an item posted earlier today with client confirmation and other details.