Kraft Reviews Agency Compensation

20 August 2003

Kraft Foods, one of the globe’s major brands, is reviewing the way in which it compensates its stateside advertising agencies – a move that will almost certainly be exported beyond US shores.

The review is being handled by New York consultancy Beekman Associates, an outfit that attracted attention earlier this year when legendary adman Donny Deutsch renounced the $100 million Pfizer account rather than reveal confidential agency fiscal data such as staff salaries to Pfizer via Beekman. [Principle, an oft-used noun in the ad business is less often enacted adjectivally.]

Beekman will be reviewing the compensation systems used by Kraft’s five main creative agencies – Foote Cone & Belding (Interpublic Group); J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam (WPP Group); and Leo Burnett (Publicis Groupe).

It is not known whether Beekman will probe the salaries of agency employees on behalf of Kraft; nor, if it does, whether the stand taken by Donny Deutsch will be emulated. Understandably, none of the shops were willing to comment on the matter, while from Kraft came a terse: “We don't discuss compensation issues.”

Addressing an audience of several hundred adfolk at the Four A's New Business Summit in June, Deutsch touched on the Beekman incident without naming names: “If we had played that game [we would have] turned out an inferior product for Pfizer,” he declared.

“We did breakthrough work. The [client-agency] relationship was fantastic. Then the consultants got involved. The incident represented a loss for Deutsch, Pfizer and our industry.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff