In politics, they call it the “Friday night news dump”: Release a bunch of documents and news late on a Friday afternoon so no one really notices because, hey, it’s the weekend and no one’s paying close attention. So what happened this afternoon, right at the start of a 3-day weekend?
Ousted senior vice-president of marketing communications, Julie Roehm, responds to Wal-Mart’s allegations in a 42-page legal document. (Click link for the PDF document).
While all sorts of things are addressed, including allegations that other Wal-Mart execs took gifts too, what’s interesting is the revelation that GSD&M didn’t quite “give up” the Wal-Mart account without a fight:
Roehm continued dialogue with agencies that were aggressive in their queries, which was informative to the agency review committee, as the type and frequency of questions asked provided insight into the culture and thought processes of the agencies “pitching” the Wal-Mart account. For example, Roehm was asked by Roy Spence of GSD&M for a list of the most important and strategic thinkers in the marketing industry. Roehm provided Spence with a list, and he subsequently hired nearly all of them to act as consultants for his team for the agency review process.
These friends and colleagues of Roehm were involved throughout GSD&M’s process, and some even appeared at the final presentation to (Wal-Mart execs) Mr. Fleming and Mr. Quinn. The GSD&M team asked for additional time for the media tissue session, as their allotted time fell short by one hour. The agency review committee consented, and the Wal-Mart team flew to Chicago and spent four additional hours with the GSD&M team. Mr. Quinn’s direct report, Tony Rogers, separately flew to Austin to meet with the GSD&M team to provide greater insight into the brand strategy he was spearheading for Wal-Mart. Despite all of these accommodations to GSD&M, that agency did not win the Wal-Mart account.