Somerfield locks horns with Burnett over split

Somerfield has accused Leo Burnett managing director Stephen Whyte of misleading his employees over the circumstances surrounding the agency’s loss of its &£13m advertising account.

In a letter to Marketing Week, Somerfield accuses the agency of a “180-degree misrepresentation of the facts”. The supermarket claims it sacked Burnett two weeks ago for failing to come up with effective creative campaigns following its appointment in April. The agency maintains it resigned the account.

Somerfield head of public relations Jill Rawlins attacks Whyte for “failing to resign the account in the discreet manner” allegedly agreed by the two companies to “ameliorate any disappointment” among Burnett staff. She writes: “Fact: We fired Burnett, although Stephen Whyte, we have since discovered, has told his staff the opposite.”

The attack has been rejected by Whyte, who refuses to comment on Rawlins’ specific accusations. He says: “The best approach in a situation like this is to move on and look forward to better things. I wish Somerfield well with its agency review process.”

There has been bad feelings between the two since they parted company over differences between the agency and Somerfield chief executive David Simons over his desire for price-led advertising.

see “Letters”

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