Home Depot Puts $600 Million Marketing Account Into Review

Retailer's New Procurement Policy Spares No One

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Home Depot today said it is undertaking a wholesale review of all ad and marketing agencies working on its nearly $600 million marketing account.
A spokeswoman for Home Depot said, 'We're aiming to do regular reviews to continuously ensure we are maintaining best-in-class relationships with all of our marketing partners.'
A spokeswoman for Home Depot said, 'We're aiming to do regular reviews to continuously ensure we are maintaining best-in-class relationships with all of our marketing partners.' Credit: AP

A number of agencies are currently on the home-improvement retailer's roster, with primary shops including independent Richards Group, which handles creative, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative, which has media duties.

Agency representatives either referred calls to the retailer or could not be immediately reached.

New marching orders
The review comes as part of a newly adopted procurement process at the Atlanta-based retailer that mandates a periodic review of all of the company's ad and marketing services agencies.

"We're aiming to do regular reviews to continuously ensure we are maintaining best-in-class relationships with all of our marketing partners," a spokeswoman said.

Home Depot has hired search consultancy Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., to manage the search, which in its next phase will focus on creative duties. Home Depot is hoping to complete its creative review by the fall.

The entire review process is expected to go well into 2009 and over the next several months will encompass a range of marketing duties, including public relations, multicultural and digital. Throughout the process, incumbent agencies will be invited to defend.

Prized client
Losing Home Depot as a client would be a major blow to Dallas-based Richards Group, which in 2008 ranked as the largest independent shop by revenue, according to Ad Age estimates.

In 2007, Home Depot, which has more than 2,000 stores in all 50 states, as well as in Canada, Mexico, China and elsewhere, spent a whopping $577 million on domestic measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Despite a slew of changes in the marketing suite, the Atlanta-based retailer has remained loyal to Richards Group over the last 15 years.

The retailer's newest chief marketer was installed in April when Frank Bifulco was named senior VP-CMO after a six-month search. Mr. Bifulco previously clocked time at a number of marketers, including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Hasbro and Timberland.
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