Somerfield's 'costing exercise' shocks ad agencies

LONDON - Evidence of the increasing influence of the procurement department in the agency appointment process has emerged with the food giant Somerfield Stores asking a raft of creative agencies to participate in a bizarre 'costing exercise'.

The request comes less than two months after Somerfield entered final negotiations with M&C Saatchi to move its £6m creative account from McCann-Erickson.

An email sent from its procurement department on Tuesday said: "We are currently doing a costing review exercise of our creative advertising agency, and would like to give you the opportunity of putting forward your company's cost if we were to use you as our vendor."

One agency source said: "It's ridiculous. We're having nothing to do with it."

The document outlined the brief to agencies. It included the "development and creation and national launch of a new advertising campaign with the continuing development of the campaign to drive brand awareness and sales".

A spreadsheet was provided to fill out hourly rates, work per month and the percentage of time that staff would spend on the Somerfield account.

"This is just a benchmarking exercise to review our costs and make sure the contracts are competitive. There is nothing suspicious about it," Susan Davison, a member of the STEPS Project, part of Somerfield's procurement division, said.

A Somerfield spokesman said the request would have no effect on M&C Saatchi's hold on the account.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content


1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).