Walmart has handed its U.S. media account to Publicis Groupe following a review, the company said, giving Publicis the biggest holding-company win of the year via an account currently handled by WPP-backed Haworth.
Spending and agency revenue weren’t disclosed, but Walmart had all-in 2020 advertising spending of $2.4 billion, according to the Ad Age Datacenter, of which $514 million was measured media, according to Kantar. The review is the biggest holding-company pitch of the year to date.
Walmart moved its media account to Haworth, owned 49% by WPP, in 2017 from Publicis Groupe’s Mediavest. Publicis shops via its dedicated Department W unit have previously handled Walmart work for more than five years, though in the past two years Interpublic Shops Deutsch LA and FCB have handled important projects.
Walmart appears to be the biggest account for Haworth, which also handles Dick’s Sporting Goods, Beats by Dre, The Oscars and Alaska Airlines, with offices in Minneapolis and Los Angeles.
Walmart U.S. Chief Marketing Officer William White in a statement called the review "incredibly competitive," and said: "We are thrilled to bring Publicis Groupe on board as our media agency. We are impressed with their people, their marketing thought leadership, and their expertise in full-funnel planning, execution and measurement capabilities."
He also thanked Haworth for its five years of work. "They supported our business during a pivotal time of transformation," he said. The original assignment came on the watch of former Walmart CMO, now Sam's Club Chief Member Officer Tony Rogers.
Publicis Groupe's areas of focus will include media strategy, planning, buying and partnerships, Walmart said. It will work in concert with Walmart's collective marketing agency roster, which includes Interpublic's Deutsch LA and FCB, the retailer said.
"We are excited and honored to be part of the Walmart family," said Publicis Chairman-CEO Arthur Sadoun in a statement. "We look forward to bringing the Walmart story to life through excellence, innovation and industry-first initiatives."