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Kmart appoints DraftFCB to $200m account without pitch

NEW YORK - Kmart has awarded its $200m (£100m) US advertising and CRM account without a pitch to Interpublic Group's DraftFCB, providing the agency with some retail consolation after its loss of Wal-Mart.

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DraftFCB replaces WPP Group's Grey on the US retail account. Grey had held the business since August 2003.

DraftFCB had been lined up to take the Wal-Mart creative account, but was controversially stripped of it late last year amid allegations that Wal-Mart's chief marketing executive Julie Roehm had broken the retailer's code of ethics during the pitch process. Interpublic eventually hung onto the $580m Wal-Mart account, via the Martin Agency.

Bill Stewart, chief marketing officer at Kmart, said: "We believe this agreement with DraftFCB will move Kmart a step closer to its goals for the business and the brand.

"As a company, we're committed to building lifetime relationships with our customers, and DraftFCB has a proven track record of helping its clients achieve success by utilising a full range of marketing tools and capabilities."

The account includes developing TV spots, print and radio advertising, customer analysis and strategy, data analysis, customer relationship marketing and branding work for the Sears-owned retailer.

Howard Draft, chairman and chief executive of DraftFCB, said: "We're very much looking forward to working with Kmart -- our two organisations have a shared commitment to accountability and creativity. We're looking forward to working together to uncover human insights that will incite consumer behaviour in creative and measurable ways."

Sears and Kmart media planning and buying duties are still in the pitch process. Incumbents MindShare and MEC Interaction are defending the account against Carat, independent Horizon Media, MPG, PHD and Publicis Groupe's Zenith.

DraftFCB recently won the $40m Kraft Lunchables creative account, while Kraft has put several of its other brands out to tender.

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