Home Depot Debuts Orange Apron Media, Announces $18B Deal

The retailer is emphasizing its pivot to pro sales in new advertising.

The Home Depot thinks that since retail media networks are growing so fast they’ve eclipsed TV advertising, they deserve as much respect as TV upfronts. So the Atlanta-based retailer organized an elaborate "Infront" event, taking the opportunity to rename its young network as Orange Apron Media.

Previously called Retail Media+, the company also detailed ways in which it is trying to add value to ad products. While hundreds of retailers have crowded into the channel, Home Depot executives detailed ways it aims to stand out.

Those include emphasizing storytelling and personalization and working closely with suppliers and non-endemic brands.

“Retailers are continuously working to captivate customers at all stages of their shopping journey, and Orange Apron Media is at the forefront of this ever-changing digital advertising landscape, helping brands connect with customers closer to the point of purchase,” says Melanie Babcock, vice president of Orange Apron Media and monetization, in the announcement.



Retail media continues to increase by some 20% per year, according to eMarketer. By 2027, it expects the channel to command $109.4 billion in ad spending, making it second only to social media. By eMarketer’s calculations, retail media spending will outpace connected TV, digital audio, and traditional television advertising combined.

Home Depot cites Advertisers Perceptions’ research, which says retail media will represent 23.5% of all digital advertising -- more than one-fifth -- in the U.S. this year.

Earlier this year, Babcock told Marketing Daily the network had already topped 350 employees, larger than many mid-sized ad agencies.

Home Depot, which has not yet broken out ad sales revenue, also used the "Infront" to showcase customer insights, measurement capabilities, and what it now sees as best practices.

Home Depot launched the network in 2018 and faces stiff competition from all corners, including rival Lowe’s. Amazon continues to dominate the field, with a reported 75% market share. Walmart+ and Target also continue to gain ground.

Separately, Home Depot also made news with the biggest acquisition in its history. The company is buying SRS Distribution, a materials provider for professionals, in a deal valued at $18.25 billion.

That's the company’s boldest move yet to increase pro sales, which currently account for about half of its revenue. Sales to contractors and professionals have become increasingly important as the cooling real estate market cuts into consumers' appetite for home improvement.

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