Wal-Mart Drops Longtime Agency Bernstein-Rein
The agency handled Wal-Mart advertising for 32 years, sharing 19 of them with creative incumbent GSD&M, Austin, TX, which is still in the running for the estimated $570 million account. The ties sever Jan. 31.
Wal-Mart expects its new marketing agency to better position the retailer against competitors like Target Corp. and Sears. A new agency or agencies may be named next month.
Four other agencies were dropped from the Wal-Mart review: WPP Group PLC's JWT, New York; MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum bond + partners, New York; and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago, and Publicis Worldwide, New York.
Besides Omnicom Group Inc.'s GSD&M, other agencies still in the review are WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York; Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; and Interpublic Group of Companies Inc.'s Draft FCB combination in Chicago and The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA.
Bernstein-Rein ads played a critical role in shaping Wal-Mart's public image as it morphed from a small-time retailer in Bentonville, AR, to the nation's No. 1 mass merchandiser. It created the smiley face character and also the low-prices tag line on Wal-Mart ads in print and elsewhere.The agency is reported to have clocked gross income last year of $59.3 million, though Wal-Mart's contribution to that is not disclosed.