Beekman Associates, the controversial New York consultancy that advises advertisers on agency selection and remuneration, has been fired by Kraft Foods.
Beekman was hired last month to evaluate Kraft’s system of rewarding its five creative roster shops: Leo Burnett (Publicis Groupe), Foote Cone & Belding (Interpublic Group), plus WPP trio J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam [WAMN: 20-Aug-03].
Beekman, notorious in the agency world for demanding detailed and commercially sensitive information from agencies (individual salaries, overhead costs, profit margins and the like), is thought to have pushed one or more of the Kraft roster shops too far. But the straw that broke the camel’s back, according to insiders, was Beekman’s refusal to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Resentment is still smouldering over Beekman’s methods, not least at FCB’s Interpublic sibling, Deutsch Advertising, whose chairman Donny Deutsch renounced the $100 million Pfizer account earlier this year rather than reveal confidential agency data to Beekman.
Kraft, which last year spent $775 million (€674.78m; £467.1m) on advertising stateside, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, refused to comment on the firing. While Beekman, which failed to return phone calls, seemed less eager to impart its own sensitive information than it is to acquire it from others.
Data sourced from: AdWeek.com; additional content by WARC staff