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Walmart Picks Haworth to Run Its $650 Million U.S. Media Account

Retail giant Walmart has chosen Haworth Marketing + Media of Minneapolis as its new U.S. media agency of record, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

This is the latest in a series of agency changes for Walmart, which is consistently one of American's largest single advertisers but has cut its marketing budget in recent years.

In February, the Bentonville, Ark.,-based company dropped Publicis Groupe's MediaVest after more than eight years and assigned its American media buying duties to WPP's GroupM. Publicis effectively made up for the loss in July when Walmart ended its nearly decade-long relationship with The Martin Agency to consolidate the creative portion of its advertising business with a dedicated unit that will consist of assets falling under the larger Publicis Communications umbrella.

News of talks between Walmart and Haworth went public in April after Target dropped the agency, which had been its media partner for several decades, and moved its business to WPP's GroupM. This win facilitated the June launch of a dedicated Target unit called Team Arrow but also created a conflict of interest for WPP, which temporarily counted both Walmart and Target as clients. In another related shift, Walmart hired longtime Target veteran Michael Francis to serve as its new chief marketing officer in December 2015.

The latest news is not strictly negative for WPP: While Haworth is still technically an independent agency, GroupM acquired 49 percent of the company in 2014.

According to Kantar Media, Walmart spent approximately $658 million on measured media in the United States in 2015. The same data shows that the retail giant spent only $186 million in the first six months of 2016, and the 2015 total marked a significant decline from 2014's $907 million spend.

Both Walmart and Haworth have not yet responded to multiple requests for comment regarding the decision.

Source: Advertising

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