Hey, It’s Only $500 Million

More stories about Julie Roehm and the future of the Wal-Mart account pop up today. Brandweek addresses the future of the account, pondering this:

Whether the remaining management team will stick with Roehm’s decision in late October to hire DraftFCB in New York to replace GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City, Mo., as Wal-Mart’s main ad agency. The review in which DraftFCB was victorious was marked by controversy because Roehm was seen socializing with CEO Howard Draft prior to giving him the account. The other competing agencies—which included Ogilvy & Mather and The Martin Agency—did not get as much face-time as Draft did.

And Lewis Lazare goes heavy on the adjectives and adverbs, sparing none to describe Roehm:

Sadly, Roehm might be the most glaring example in recent memory of a particularly repellent type of executive that has infested the advertising and marketing world on both the client and agency sides. She is a creepy version of a particularly crafty scam artist who sails onward and upward on wave after wave of ill-deserved hype, while using some savvy political skills to sell themselves to others who are perhaps even more clueless.

And as if the marketing woes weren’t bad enough, Newsweek reports on Wal-Mart’s dismal holiday sales:

It’s turning into a blue Christmas for Wal-Mart. While many of its rivals ring up healthy holiday sales, Wal-Mart is struggling. In the critical shopping month of November, the nation’s largest retailer suffered its first decline in same-store sales in more than a decade. And December isn’t shaping up to be much better. Wal-Mart recently warned that sales at stores open at least a year will either be flat or up to only 1 percent this month.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • theo kie

    I wonder whether this has anything to do with the merging of cultures at Draft/FCB. Advertising agencies have spent a good amount of time growing out of their schmooz-is-everything approach. More than a few scandals involving graft and fraud have had a big impact on holding companies and agencies – in particular FCB and Interpublic, which are still undergoing an SEC investigation and dealing with the illegal goings on in Europe and Asia.
    Direct mail seems more old-school in its view of business relationships, as they are rarely in the scrutinizing glare of the spotlight – it is, after all, the less glamorous world of direct. Perhaps Howard Draft doesn’t realize the rules of the more fierce, competitive, highly scrutinized world he’s joined. I wouldn’t doubt other agencies in the pitch let their distaste for the goings on between Draft and Roehm be known.
    It’s merely a theory, of course, but combining the worlds of direct and traditional agencies mayve have played a role.