Home Depot breaks with Richards Group following founder’s racist remarks
After 25 years, Home Depot is searching for a new advertising agency in the wake of racist remarks made by Stan Richards, founder of Richards Group, the home improvement chain’s agency.
In a recent review meeting for Motel 6, Richards, who is 88 years old, said that an ad in a pitch was “too Black” for the company's “white supremacist constituents.” As a result, Motel 6, which had been a client of Richards Group for more than three decades, fired the agency earlier this week. Now Home Depot is doing the same. The retailer had worked with Richards Group for a quarter-century, according to a Home Depot spokeswoman.
“We do not tolerate discrimination in any form, so we were shocked and saddened when we learned of this incident. We have immediately begun the process of finding a new advertising agency,” a Home Depot spokeswoman said in a statement.
Richards Group did not immediately return a request for comment about Home Depot’s decision.
Last year, Home Depot spent $1.1 billion on advertising for the year ended Feb. 2020, a 3% increase over the prior year, according to Ad Age’s Datacenter, which ranks the chain as the U.S.’ 43rd largest advertiser. Sales have risen in recent months for the retailer as the pandemic forced many homebound consumers to spend on house-improvement projects. For the second quarter, Home Depot reported a 23.4% rise in net sales to $38.1 billion; same-store sales, which measure stores open a year or more, were 23.4%. Net earnings were $4.3 billion for the period.
Other Richards Group clients such as Hobby Lobby and H-E-B, the grocery chain, did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the status of their relationship with the agency.