By now, the known marketing world is up to speed on the soap opera-like details of how Draft FCB first won Wal-Mart and then, based upon alleged shenanigans by Wal-Mart’s Julie Roehm and Sean Womack in the search process, was summarily fired. Wal-Mart went on to hire the Martin Agency, fire Roehm and Womack, be sued by Roehm for wrongful dismissal, counter sue her for ‘conduct unbecoming’ and so on and so forth.
In the meantime, Draft FCB was left to pick up the pieces and overcome a huge image and reputation challenge created by the Roehm/Wal-Mart fracas: did FCB look the other way when it came to proper business conduct? Did they ‘buy’ the new business via lavish gifts and entertainment? Were they engaged in discussions to set up a separate business for Roehm and Womack in exchange for being assigned the Wal-Mart account?
Draft FCB’s parent company, Interpublic, conducted an internal audit and found no instances of wrongdoing. Cleared of any breaches of ethical conduct, Draft went on the offensive and, bingo, nailed the Kmart account.
I’m not privy to what really went down at Draft, Wal-Mart or Kmart, but as a guy who’s been through more than one ‘wrongful’ dismissal by clients, I rejoice in Draft’s being able to not only recoup a good percentage of the lost Wal-Mart billings, but to do so through the auspices of a direct competitor of the company who’d publicly humiliated the agency in the first place.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.