Staples Begins Integrated-Agency Review

Marketer May Consolidate Business at One Holding Company

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Staples has begun an integrated-agency review that could include a move to consolidate business at one holding company, according to industry executives.

Such a move could affect its existing creative, media, digital and PR agency relationships. A Staples spokesman said in a statement: "We have been very pleased with the quality of work from our incumbent agencies. As you may know, Staples launched a new strategic plan in 2012 as we work to reinvent the company and restore growth. As part of this effort, we launched a new corporate vision. In light of these changes, this is a perfect time to get new thinking on branding and advertising."

The spokesman would not elaborate on the scope of the review.

The company has worked with Interpublic Group of Cos' McCann Erickson on creative since 2004, as well as a roster of agencies from various holding companies. They include Publicis Groupe's Razorfish, which won the digital-media account in 2009, and WPP's Mediacom which has supported the company's media business for a number of years. The company also hired Next Fifteen's Text100 to handle PR for its Staples Advantage B2B division last year.

The agencies either declined to comment or didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

SRI is supporting the review, noted people familiar with the matter.

The move comes amid major merger news in the staid office-supply category. According to The Wall Street Journal, OfficeMax and Office Depot are in advanced discussions to merge, with a deal possible as early as this week. OfficeMax is the second-largest retailer in the office category by revenue, while Office Depot is the third-largest. Even if the pair teamed up, they would remain smaller than Staples.

Staples, which also owns B2B supplies brand Quill, spent $115.8 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2011, the last full year of spending available on Kantar Media.

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