Leo Burnett has split with Somerfield and its &£13m advertising account in the wake of the retailer’s root-and-branch restructure, which saw the sacking of marketing director Phil Smith.
The agency was appointed to handle the rebranding of the newly-merged Kwik Save and Somerfield chains in April. It handed in its notice this week, amid rumours of discord with Somerfield chief executive David Simons.
One source says work created by Burnett was rejected by Simons in favour of the “Annie” campaign created by its previous agency RPM3.
McCann-Erickson, which handles work for the Kwik Save chain, is being retained on a project basis.
A spokeswoman for Somerfield says: “We are parting company with Burnett. At some point in the future we will be re-examining the whole [advertising] area.”
Leo Burnett declines to comment on its resignation.
The move follows a major restructure by Simons following the City’s massive devaluing of the company last month. The shake-up has seen the loss of three senior marketers as it restructures along divisional lines.
Smith was followed by brands communications director Alan Shepherd (MW July 22) and group development director Jonathan Smith (MW July 29).
Simons also announced that the 300 Kwik Save stores which were to be converted to the Somerfield format following the merger, will remain under their existing brand. Somerfield’s share price has fallen almost 20 per cent to 221 pence per share since the announcement.