Howard Draft has been forced to take drastic action to pacify mutinous clients following his agency’s sudden firing from its £240m ($470m) flagship Wal-Mart account.
He issued an e-mail to staff and clients claiming the agency was not to blame.
The agency was dramatically sacked earlier this month, following Asda-owner Wal-Mart’s firing of chief marketer Julie Roehm over her handling of the pitch.
The account covered only the US, although global clients are understood to have expressed alarm that the agency could lose an account won just weeks earlier. Its surprise winning of the Wal-Mart account was said to have vindicated holding group Interpublic’s (IPG’s) decision to merge the Draft and FCB networks earlier this year.
The Chicago-based agency has been backed by IPG chief executive Michael Roth, who was brought on-board last year to clean up the holding company’s tarnished reputation following accounting issues.
Wal-Mart cited information “obtained over the past few weeks” for its u-turn. In response, Draft last week issued a memo entitled “Truth and Trust” to staff and some clients, in which he revealed that the agency had carried out a “careful and methodical” review of its pitch conduct.
He says: “As of this morning [Thursday], we have completed this investigation, which has not uncovered any instances in which we have violated either [Draft FCB or Interpublic] policy. It is important for you to know that – and equally important that our clients know that.”