- Wal-Mart previously announced it was parting ways with Mediavest and now has announced Haworth Marketing & Media will be the retail giant’s new media shop, as reported by Ad Age.
- Haworth is 49% owned by WPP and last April lost the Target account to WPP’s GroupM, which set up a dedicated shop for Wal-Mart’s competitor.
- In a memo, Wal-Mart’s U.S. CMO Tony Rogers wrote that Haworth will be involved in ways “well beyond” a traditional media agency with roles including media planning and placement, strategy for brand integration, and strategic partnerships in marketing, media and entertainment.
The media strategies for big advertisers like Wal-Mart are in flux as investment moves to digital at the same that programmatic strategies grow, as evidenced by Target's recent decision to assume more control over the automated buying of ads. These developments, in turn, are impacting agency relationships, with a number of big changes having taken place over the last couple of years.
During the recent holiday season, retailers' ad spend dropped 9% during the first four weeks, with the slow start due, in part, to a shift to lower-cost digital strategies as consumers increasingly spread their spending out over the course of November and December and spend more online, according to Kantar Media research.
Wal-Mart saw significant success during the holidays with its YouTube strategy, with its holiday-related videos having more than double the views of the second-leading brnad, according to Marketing Land.
Wal-Mart had been in talks with Haworth since at least April, so the news isn’t unexpected but is now official. Haworth is taking over media for a brand that's doing well in its space. Wal-Mart has seen 10 consecutive quarters of sales growth with a 1.2% comp-store increase in its fiscal Q3 while competitors including Target and Dollar General are seeing declines in sales.
The retail giant spent close to $2.1 billion on advertising in the U.S. in 2015 per the Advertising Age Datacenter. This spending included $621 million in measured media according to Kantar Media.