Home Depot Finds New Home In The U.S.: Lands At Carat, Interpublic Retains Significant Portions

Home remodeling and supply retailing giant Home Depot has pulled its U.S. media account from long-time agency Interpublic's Initiative unit, and moved it to Carat, marking another major win for the Aegis Media unit in the U.S., MediaDailyNews has learned.

Details could not be confirmed at presstime, but the U.S. portion of Home Depot's media account likely is worth about $600 million in billings, bringing Carat's new business gains since the end of 2010 up well in excess of $1 billion, and officially cementing the agency's designation of being on a new business role.

Interestingly, Initiative is believed to have retained Home Depot's account in Canada, and other sister divisions of the Interpublic Mediabrands unit, including search and social agency Reprise Media and newspaper buying giant NSA, are said to have retained those sizeable portions of Home Depot's business.

But the loss is a significant blow for Initiative, which created a humongous dedicated media services division within the agency, dubbed Team Orange, to service the account.



The decision comes a year after Home Depot conducted a similar review, but decided to leave its media services account at Initiative's Team Orange unit, but sources say Carat never stopped pitching, and that those efforts paid off in this week's win.

While the account is purely a general media services - planning and buying - account for the U.S., other Aegis Media units such as out-of-home media shop Posterscope and digital unit Isobar and search experts iProspect likely played role on the pitch, because the new Carat model is based on breaking down traditional media services silos.

But the retention of Home Depot's search and social media accounts at Interpublic's Reprise is telling, given the growing importance of those media disciplines, especially for retailers.

The relationship between Interpublic's Mediabrands and Home Depot remains deep. Former Home Depot CMO John Ross has become a key player inside Mediabrands, initially running its Emerging Media Lab, and more recently launching and running Shopper Sciences, a new state-of-the-art shopper and retail media and marketing agency that leverages digital media and unique consumer shopping insights.

But like any savvy marketer, Home Depot likely is looking to stretch its consumer insights across a broader array of Madison Avenue's best strategic thinkers, and while Carat has always had strategic planning, communications planning and research deep in its roots, the newly revitalized organization, operating under CEO Nigel Morris, has proven it can win business.

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