Asda’s chief customer officer Andy Murray has “kicked off a procurement process” that will see its entire advertising business – including its media, creative and digital accounts – reviewed in an attempt to consolidate the hundreds of agencies it works with.
In an announcement today, Murray said the decision to consolidate the agency roster came as it looked to better "engage with customers across channels, both physical and digital."
The move has put Publicis on alert. Murray – who spent six years at the holding group – moved the £95m creative and media business into his former agency in one swoop in 2016, with Saatchi & Saatchi taking the creative from VCCP and Blue 449 winning the media from Carat.
However, an Asda spokesperson told The Drum that the review of its media, creative and digital agencies was not being conducted simultaneously but declined to comment further on the "select group of potential and current partners" that the retailer has started talking to.
They said that the review had been planned as it “builds on the structure [Murray] put in place last year”.
Part of that strategy has seen it reduce the amount of marketing activity it does as well as build an internal customer and marketing team “that is less channel centric and aligned to foster and launch ideas that are more salient to our customers’ needs”.
“The next step in our journey is to create an agency partner ecosystem that helps us drive growth in a new way of working, where big creative ideas come to life in ways that match how we want to engage with customers across channels, both physical and digital,” Murray said.
“We have been fortunate to have world class partners over this past year help us make great adverts, digital content, press and point of sale. We couldn’t have achieved the turnabout in results in 2017 without their help. But we need to fundamentally change the way our ecosystem works to reach and engage customers differently than we do today.”
Publicis declined to comment on the review.