Wal-Mart Goes Shopping For A New Ad Agency

That’s the big news from the ad world today. Ad Age and Adweek have respective articles.
Currently, the bulk of the account is split between Austin’s GSD&M and Kansas City’s Bernstein-Rein. And for a long time, too, as Adweek mentions:

GSD&M has worked for the retailer for the past 19 years. Bernstein-Rein has been on the roster for more than 30 years.

And Bernstein’s about to build a new big swanky headquarters, aka the House That Wal-Mart Built.
I have a few questions about this upcoming review:
1) Would Wal-Mart choose an agency that pitches an agreement with the lowest prices (fees)?
2) Wal-Mart’s new CMO is from Target. Will they go for a more hip approach?
3) How much fear and loathing will ad agency execs and account planners from New York, Chicago or San Francisco display as they’re forced to head to an Ames, Iowa SuperCenter to do some research?
4) Can you find Bentonville, Arkansas on a map?
This account is worth $570 million. While GSD&M and B-R plan to defend, you can bet some big agency folks are mulling this one over.

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.


  1. In a lot of marketing classes, Wal-Mart is cited as being a ccompany that has a very strong and successful USP; They only sell based on price.
    Well after the new CMO said we will no longer sell on price, I guess that strategy is out the door.
    Not to defend “Wally World” but there are numerous Wal-Mart supercenters in urban cities i.e. Arlington, TX (home of Texas Rangers and future home of Dallas Cowboys), Colleyville, TX (Where Pat Sumerall and Rafael Palmeiro live)
    Ok forget I mentioned Palmerio’s name.

  2. 2) Walmart knows that if you’re going to get the highest quality, you’re going to have to pay for it. From a marketing perspective, you can afford to sell items cheaply if there are a lot of them, but with a service like advertising, they have to realize that they have to spend some money.
    3) Any exec who loathes getting down and dirty with consumers doesn’t deserve to be where he is. Period.