We'd All Be Happier If Julie Roehm Was Still At Wal-Mart

roehm120506thm.jpg

You know what this whole Wal-Roehm scandal is all about? Nothing. She just got caught. Hundreds of agency and client-side executives do exactly what she allegedly did and no one ever hears about it. We're not saying that makes it right. We're just saying.

But let's examine further. She's accused of having dinner with agency execs. What marketing director hasn't done that? She's accused of taking rides in ad execs fancy cars. Who wouldn't want to do that it offered? She accused of indicating to an agency exec said agency had the upper hand. Who hasn't been optimistic when discussing business with a potential partner? She's accused of accepting gifts from ad agencies courting the Wal-Mart account. Oh please. What agency on this earth doesn't do that when trying to win an account and what marketing director doesn't slide them into their briefcase before anyone notices?

She's accused of having a "relationship" with a subordinate. Anyone who works in marketing organization knows it's just one room over from a dating service. She's accused of turning a boring stockholder meeting into something people would actually want to attend. Who really wants to spend three hours discussing boring things like revenue, P&E ratios, gross profits, net income and stock price? OK, so a lot of people do but it doesn't have to be boring. OK, so it was cheesy but still. She's accused of managing through racy ad, called "Sexy," in which a married couple discuss lingerie while audienced by their family. Uh, hello? Everyone has to do the "sex sells" thing at least once in their career.

In and of themselves, there's nothing really wrong with Roehm's actions. Yes, she did breal some very strict Wal-mart code of conduct rules. But, again, she just got caught and that's when the harm started flying off the fan blades. Draft/FCB had $580 million in potential billings yanked. That's gotta hurt. Draft/FCB was in the middle of hiring a boat load of people. Those recent hires are gong to hurt badly. Wal-mart is without a captain running the marketing ship. That's gotta hurt. Interpublic's stock has fallen. That's definitely gotta hurt. Yes, she did break rules. There's no disputing that. But, to take a contrarian point of view, none of this harm wold have happened had she not been caught. Doesn't make it right. We're just saying.

We know you have comments.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (64)     File: Agencies, Opinion     Dec- 8-06  
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Comments

Of course that shit goes on. But maybe the Wal-Mart elders weren't ready for it. Just sayin.

Posted by: makethelogobigger on December 8, 2006 12:11 PM

She was in way over her head. 10 years at Ford and Chrysler - where doing an online campaign is considered ground-breaking work (!) did not qualify her for an SVP role at Wal-Mart. She knew it and everyone around her knew it. As for Sean Womack - all car girls are easily wooed by creative types and I imaginie it is slim pickings in Arkansas.

Posted by: GetDrafted on December 8, 2006 12:43 PM

I met both Julie and Sean in a social environment and did see an obvious flirtation between them. You are correct, in this industry it's not uncommon to be romantically linked to another, but it was pretty obvious. They would have been wiser to simmer it down to moments between the two of them, not in front of the whole public.

As far as Julie's other actions, wal-mart is using them as petty reasons to get her out. Dinners, driving in nice cars, gifts are all the norm in this industry from the lowliest assistant to the highest executive- no matter what a company's policy may be. Wal-Mart hired Julie to turn things around there, and fight for the ever-decreasing market share they are losing, but it seems that after all wal-mart just isn't ready, nay WILLING, to evolve, and they will continue to suffer for that.

Posted by: mediasteve on December 8, 2006 01:23 PM

You know who doesn't accept agency gifts? The Military they have the integrity to follow the policies set by their employers.

If I'm wal-mart and my image is of family and whatnot then I don't want my currently most visable employee making my company look bad by boinking her co-workers, generally ignoring my policies on doing business and hiring an agency that puts out ads of lions doing it. But thats just me.

Posted by: ForSerious on December 8, 2006 01:58 PM

I feel so strongly that I commented twice apparently.

Posted by: For Serious on December 8, 2006 02:07 PM

could you have more typos in this article?

Posted by: larry on December 8, 2006 02:07 PM

It was a bad hire in the first place. If wal-mart was ready to accept Julie's 'self quoted "push the envelope style"' than they shouldn't have hired her. And she should have know better and that acting in that way was not going to fly at Wal-Mart. This one was doomed as soon wal-mart offered her the job.

Posted by: Stu on December 8, 2006 02:30 PM

You said it, Make:

"Wal-Mart hired Julie to turn things around there, and fight for the ever-decreasing market share they are losing, but it seems that after all wal-mart just isn't ready, nay WILLING, to evolve, and they will continue to suffer for that."

I've seen this play out in businesses big and small. I'd even make the case that the same thinking is behind our most intractable social problems.

Essentially, management brings in new blood and says, "Give us new outcomes." What gets left unsaid is that no new methods are allowed -- so when the new blood brings in the new methods, the old guard can get rid of both, then blame the continued failure on the new blood.

In this case, that should be good news for Target.

Posted by: Mary Baum on December 8, 2006 02:34 PM

Bullshit, I worked on the Army account when I was at Leo and the Army takes gifts as well. For example thei per diem for dinner is $20.00; which they will gladly pay out of pocket...EXCEPT that the dinner bill is actually something for like 70.00 per person, which of course the agency picks up the tab on.

Wal-Mart will be better for not working with DRAFT; their creative sucks.

Posted by: Teddy P on December 8, 2006 02:45 PM

My nominee for understatement of the year:

Philippe Krakowsky, an executive vice president at Interpublic, said, “We were disappointed to hear of Wal-Mart’s decision.”

Posted by: john on December 8, 2006 02:57 PM

it's true - face it, we work in an extremely 'slimey' but fun business -- the first sign of trouble was when Julie was flaunting that car ride with Howard Draft -- you just knew that no good could come of that...

Posted by: astar on December 8, 2006 02:59 PM

And what about GSD+M? How many people were they looking at losing due to the loss? How many years of growth had Walmart had with GSD+M?
Sure the ads aren't as cool as Target- but neither is most of the USA.
I'm sure GSD+M could have changed direction- it's most likely that Walmart isn't capable.
Clients get the advertising and the messes they deserve.

Posted by: David Esrati on December 8, 2006 03:11 PM

Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Sun Times had it right. She was fired for incompetence above all. Those who've been in a room with she and Sean know there wasn't even half a brain between them. The rest of it is just a sideshow for bloggers. The world's biggest retailer cannot have an absolute incompetent in a senior marketing job.

Posted by: arkansas bob on December 8, 2006 03:15 PM

Firing Julie Roehm for accepting dinners, taking joy rides in Aston Martins and cuddling with her creepily incompetent laky, Sean Womack, is the equivalent to busting Al Capone for tax evasion. The truth is that she was clueless and Wal-Mart was just looking for an excuse to dump her.

Posted by: Grave Dancer on December 8, 2006 03:23 PM

Sean? Did you write this article for your new girlfriend? How sweet.

Posted by: Jack on December 8, 2006 03:35 PM

The other truth here is that a huge part of the reason the "harm is flying off the fan blades" directly in Ms. Roehm's face is because she's reaping what she's sown. There can't be this much pent-up hatred in an industry for a person who treats others as he or she expects to be treated. She's an incompetent, a sham, an outright liar and about as deep as a puddle. This, to a large degree, is about karma. The same holds true for Sean Womack. The guy's entire life is jerry-rigged on thin half-truths, at best. He's a former Christian greeting card writer who found himself giddy with the power of helping to steer the ship of one of the world's largest brands--a power that he abused time and time again in ways that were demeaning and inhumane to the people he managed and worked with. Good riddance to both of them!!!!!

Posted by: JulieLickedMe on December 8, 2006 04:17 PM

I'd hit that!

Posted by: Sugar on December 8, 2006 04:35 PM

Affair Perhaps???

On a side note, was this also an affair for both Sean and Julie? I know Julie has 2 kids and Sean 3 kids. Or are they divorced now?

Posted by: P-dazzle on December 8, 2006 05:00 PM

It would have behooved Wal-Mart to hire an Internal marketing change agent vs. external comm. I liked her tactics but they weren't relevant to Wal-Mart's customer - they hired the wrong person for this job.
Spend the dollars on the employees; build word of mouth and increase the value of the promise - all with being the "cheapest" in town. That's how their Operations group did it.

Posted by: kappel on December 8, 2006 05:05 PM

You guys all seem to miss the key point of her ouster. Wal-Mart has some very strict conduct of business and behavior policies they require their employees to adhere to.

No doubt Julie and Sean were informed and instructed on those policies the first week on the job. Bottom line was Julie not only ignored policy but then flaunted it, in front of her bosses, employees and the industry.

So what if every agency tries to woo prospective clients with fancy meals and entertainment. Hard as it is to believe or accept, what goes on in the advertising and media business, is in other businesses tantamount to bribery. The "everybody does it" rational demonstrates the complete ignorance of those who see no wrong doing on Julie's part. She could have easily just said no to the offers that were made to her.

If you were Lee Scott with 1.3M employees what would you do? Wal-Mart has and enforces their code of conduct policies to insure the company and shareholders are not subjected to criminal charges,SEC fines and sanctions, mega civil lawsuits for sexual harassment due to errant employees. If Scott tolerated Julie's behavior he would be signaling all of those 1.3M employees that violating policy is ok and without consequence.

Consider for the moment all of the fringe groups that see Wal-Mart as the Evil Empire of business. Does anyone think Wal-Mart is not being served with thousands of lawsuits every week? Wal-Mart is the ultimate "deep pockets" target for civil liability suits.

All you stiffs that can't figure the justification of these dismissals are destined to become the next Julie.

Posted by: Bruce on December 8, 2006 05:26 PM

I've been on the client side selling to Walmart, and you would not believe the strict ethical culture they have when working with "vendors" - agencies included. I'm surprised it took this long for a move to happen...

Reading about fancy dinners and Howard Draft car rides smelled fishy right away when you have experienced meetings with Walmart in tiny offices with $10 furniture. Also note that their people stay in Motel 6 (or equivalent) during business travel, usually two people to a room!

Walmart's culture if fundamentally about pushing costs out of the system. And fancy car rides and dinners is completely at odds with their history, culture and low-cost business strategy.

After all, they know that their customers would end up paying for fancy agency dinners and cars!!

Posted by: BobG on December 8, 2006 06:19 PM

I was watching CNBC like I do everyday around 3 - 4pm (the only times I'm not hooked on caffeinated beverages) and noticed a campaign for Wal-Mart which seeks to brand the company as a high-end retailer (like that will ever happen).

Hundreds of agencies and executives do what she allegedly did but who cares. She took the initiative to be different and rattle some cages.

Isn't that what marketing should be?

If marketing didn't cause controversy or build brand awareness and PR then what point of hiring a marketer would there be? Sure, marketers could do market research in their cute little cubicles crunching numbers from mall surveys alongside statistics graduates but what's the fun in that.

Let's examine this further. She is accused of having dinner with agency execs.

She is also accused of taking rides in exec fancy cars. Who hasn't been optimistic about a potential partner and changed themselves to be like their potential partners?

She is also accused of accepting gifts from ad agencies to court the Wal-Mart account. Oh big deal.

Our politicans do the same thing. Rememeber, our economy once worked on a barter system and selfishness and competition are just a fact of life. The moment you let your guard down and confirm to what society proclaims as 'morally right' will others step right over you and open a door to success.

Posted by: Julie Rhoem Wal Mart Scandal Discussed on December 8, 2006 06:40 PM

Great rational: "everyone's doing it" and "if you don't do it, others will step over you". What is this? Middle School? Being creative or hard-nosed in business does not mandate unethical or illegal behavior....those who lack solid business skills and and real creativity follow the road she did.

The only cages Julie rattled were those of Wal-Mart senior management...and not from a marketing standpoint. Julie was clueless as to what the Wal-Mart brand stands for: Low prices.

I too have done business with Wal-Mart and like the other comment above, I experienced the same thing. These guys are all about driving costs into the ground. No flash, no high profiling. Any moron can figure out what the Wal-Mart corporate culture is 30 seconds after walking into their lobby! Anyone with an ounce of common sense and average intelligence would conclude that putting on a Broadway revue and all of Julie's other antics was pure corporate suicide at Wal-Mart.

Check out yesterday's WSJ front page about how hard Wal-Mart has been working to improve the corporate image. Was Julie oblivious to those efforts? That would be hard to believe.

Julie is nothing more than one of those narcissistic showboats where everything they do is about "me". Sam Walton probably rolled over in his grave on this one.

Posted by: Bruce on December 8, 2006 08:09 PM

Let's face it, the Julie and Sean show was the most interesting thing to happen to either FCB or Wal-Mart in decades. Wal-Mart's scrooge-like killjoy policies meets adland's amorality. Yum. More please!

Posted by: not-bothered on December 9, 2006 07:39 AM

There are children involved in the public airing out of this mess.

Who is taking care of them? I'd give them all a hug, at least. Not that I am a Wal*mart greeter, but I know how kids hurt.

Posted by: stay home mom on December 9, 2006 09:00 AM

I find it hard to believe that this is all about something as relatively petty as accepting a dinner or three, as expensive as a plate of Miso Black Cod is at Nobu. Wal-Mart had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in this woman's success. Someone more senior would have made it quite clear that the Detroit client-agency status quo was not acceptable in Bentonville, and anyone smart enough to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business would have gotten the hint.

There's something much bigger at the heart of this, which may be as juicy as the bloggers and rumor mill suggest. Or it may be as simple as the possibility that Ms. Roehm didn't have a clue about how to operate in a results-driven culture like Wal-Mart's, once her arsenal of potty jokes and other "provocative" ad strategies were taken away from her.

Posted by: TheSenator on December 9, 2006 01:32 PM

The following excerpt from today’s NY Times story tells it all:

>>In an interview, John Fleming, the chief marketing officer at Wal-Mart, said the company had indeed begun to backtrack from sleeker advertising that emphasized style over price. Customer research, he said, showed that, rich or poor, Wal-Mart customers “care about unbeatable prices.”

“I don’t think Wal-Mart advertising is ever going to be edgy,” he said last night. “I do not think that fits our brand. Our brand is about saving people money.”

Despite all attempts to sensationalize the details, it looks like fired advertising director Julie Roehm was simply not Wal-Mart’s cup of tasteless tea.

Ironically, Draft FCB might have been the perfect choice to deliver the “edgy-less” work Wal-Mart is seeking.

Posted by: HighJive on December 9, 2006 01:57 PM

to clarify, the final two sentences in my previous comment are mine, not the ny times'

Posted by: HighJive on December 9, 2006 01:59 PM

"You guys all seem to miss the key point of her ouster. Wal-Mart has some very strict conduct of business and behavior policies they require their employees to adhere to."

Think I mentioned that up front. They weren't ready to accept Mad-ave tactics. But the price thing is another important part of this, I would agree. Wal-Mart, as it does with all vendors, (and that's all Draft was to them), even makes Disney bend over and take it on price for DVD title releases. They will bend to nobody in my experience with them. It's 'what's the best deal you can offer us'?

"Hundreds of agencies and executives do what she allegedly did but who cares. She took the initiative to be different and rattle some cages.

Isn't that what marketing should be? "


Yes, but not at the risk of harming your core brand. Wal-Mart's core brand in this case is $4.88 plastic. Period. This goes beyond taking risk. You don't try and change the essence of what a brand is. They will never be Target. Only innovation they care about is how to ship more P3s.

Posted by: makethelogobigger on December 9, 2006 02:01 PM

Steve,

I love you like a brother, but you got this one horribly wrong, except for the fact you got a healthy dialogue going, which I guess was the point, which I guess means you got it exactly right.

I'm confused.

Posted by: Your brother from another mother on December 9, 2006 05:34 PM

Exactly, brother:-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on December 9, 2006 06:16 PM

To be clear, I’m not condoning breaking the rules. White lies are still lies, blah, blah, blah.

The peculiar thing about all this hoopla is the critics’ belief that Roehm’s alleged indiscretions may be unique. Does anyone believe for a second that other Wal-Mart executives never collected gifts from GSDM or other vendors? Does anyone believe for a millisecond that other Wal-Mart executives have never favored one vendor over another? Does anyone believe for a nanosecond that other Wal-Mart executives have never banged a coworker?

Hate Roehm. Definitely hate Draft FCB. But please spare us the sanctimonious outrage. This is the advertising business after all, where daily occurrences take place that would make Sodom and Gomorrah look like, well, Wal-Mart.

Posted by: HighJive on December 9, 2006 07:43 PM

OK, let the debate continue over whether her actions were such a big deal. Sure, there's some juicy stuff in the Womack relationship and I want to hear more!!!

But let's flash back almost three years ago, shall we... when Chrysler's then-CMO Joe Eberhard embarrassedly admitted that he had no clue that wunderhotty Julie signed Dodge on as primary sponsor of the Lingerie Bowl. So, in the fall of 2003, her best strategy to combat the boring Super Bowl ads of her competitors was to overspend on a sponsorship (that she couldn't even activate) of a PPV event with 20,000 buys.

The fact that Dieter Zetsche let that one go signaled to me that she either had pics of him, Wolfgang and Eberhard, or she simply had 9 marketing lives. Lame Roehm was destined to get bitten in her ass sooner or later. It didn't happen at Chrysler, but it happened in Bible-toting Bentonville.

I'm eager to see where she and her lack of marketing smarts go next in life #3...

Posted by: Sponsorship The Inexact Science on December 9, 2006 09:57 PM

I'm stunned at some of the comments posted on here, and by the original posting.

Wal-Mart's policies on accepting any kind of gratuities or favors from any vendor are sacrosanct. They've been part of their corporate culture and policy for decades, and if Ms. Roehm wasn't aware of them or deliberately flaunted them (either of which is bad enough), then a person of her intelligence or ethics shouldn't be in that kind of position at one of the world's largest companies.

Wal-Mart didn't get to be what it is just be cause "everybody else does it." I'd love to be a fly on the wall in some of your offices when your own employees come to you and say, "Well, boss, I know it's against company policy to (fill in the blank) but so-and-so down the street is doing it, and it's the way we did it at my last employer, so what the hell, right? Nobody got hurt!"

I'm surprised to see, too (not necessarily on this blog) that some are saying and writing that Julie Roehm is the fall gal for Wal-Mart's sales slump in November. If anybody is going to be the scapegoat for a downturn in sales, it would be John Fleming, the architect of the company's shift in marketing direction over the last year.

Posted by: ThePhan on December 10, 2006 11:07 AM

Headline of this week's Ad Age: Unruly Julie and the Scandal that Rocked the Ad World

http://adage.com/article?article_id=113685

My question to you my brother is this: to what extent is MSM responsible for this mess? After all, it was AD AGE that splashed the whole Aston Martin thing across their front page, sensationalizing the whole doomed review in the first place...

Posted by: Brother from another mother on December 10, 2006 05:03 PM

Question: Why is the rant focused on disparaging remarks about the people who work for Draft or FCB?


I am a client to one of the best creative agencies in the country. Crispin Porter + Bogusky. And yes, they are a pleasure to work with.


My question comes to you based on thoughts around the D/FCB people. The ones who are not the elite 5 at the top of every company. I�m an EVP, Director for a well-liked big brand, I know my EVP counterpart at CPB, or previous agencies had no force to change and alter the various agency policy that you rant about.. It�s still with the fab 5 at every agency. The rest of us dance each day to feed our kids and dream one day, �if I get the chance I will change some things.� Even on the brand side.


The hatred and tyranny that is written is disgusting and disappointing. The people who work at D/FCB are working at an agency 9000 large across the world. It�s the second largest agency. Only about 2200 of the 9000 are in the US! But what about the actual people? For most who you say �hate them,� well, my friends there who are working class creative and account folks would love to pump out CPG creative. Who wouldn�t? But since you have all pointed out that not enough brands are willing to take the risk, who is left to produce the majority of the work?


I have many middle of the road friends that work at D/FCB. And, I also have friends who work there that came from DDB, Leo, Chait/Day, BBH, Fallon and yes, there are a few from Crispin actually working for D/FCB. There are so many good, normal, mature and visionary leaders at every agency who get mottled in the crap. Just like you do. Of the 1200 in Chicago, and 800 in NY�how many are assholes? Don�t say most, it�s just not true. Most are great people who landed from other respected agencies. And folks, they�re simply not the rejects from those agencies. It�s just not true.


Hate the fab 5 for making stupid selfish mistakes. Acknowledge that unless there�s a sea-change in a market, D/FCB client�s will not allow them the risk of breathtaking work, but as John Stossel would say, �Give me a break.� In Chicago where the Wal-Mart account was won, 1195 are people who struggle to keep their kids in college, pay their mortgages and buy gas. The younger people there just want to get a job after college, or mid-level creatives/account/planning/HR and more who found a home in the city of Chicago. Please, hate? And the sources tell that the fab 5 did one thing right, they didn�t hire the 200 poor souls who would be out of a job this Christmas.


I hope I get wind of who any of you are, who hide behind hatred� if my company ever considers you for a win. I would love to hear a slip from you at dinner. I read these blogs and your prose cannot be faked or duplicated.


Oh, subtext for the self-loving purest creative here. At CP+B they do care about data and tangible results. They obsess about it. And they are under-cutting price behind your backs, you just don�t know about it. For them, they just know how to also deliver the goods.


Give me a break.

Posted by: client_side_pitcher on December 10, 2006 05:39 PM

I don't understand the ugly attitude towards Draft/FCB either. But it's my experience that a large percentage of the people who post on sites like these are gadfly-wannabes who don't even have meaningful jobs in the industry. In the '60s they were called groupies. These people mistake memorizing the contents of the One Show for appearing in it. Take their howl of hate for what it's worth.

Posted by: TheSenator on December 10, 2006 06:33 PM

"Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Sun Times had it right. She was fired for incompetence above all. Those who've been in a room with she and Sean know there wasn't even half a brain between them. The rest of it is just a sideshow for bloggers. The world's biggest retailer cannot have an absolute incompetent in a senior marketing job".

AMEN - but we also don't know what really happenned because the official sources are being officially tightlipped. Everything else is conjecture.

Posted by: Buzz on December 11, 2006 01:37 AM

"I find it hard to believe that this is all about something as relatively petty as accepting a dinner or three, as expensive as a plate of Miso Black Cod is at Nobu. Wal-Mart had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in this woman's success. Someone more senior would have made it quite clear that the Detroit client-agency status quo was not acceptable in Bentonville, and anyone smart enough to earn an MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business would have gotten the hint.

There's something much bigger at the heart of this, which may be as juicy as the bloggers and rumor mill suggest. Or it may be as simple as the possibility that Ms. Roehm didn't have a clue about how to operate in a results-driven culture like Wal-Mart's, once her arsenal of potty jokes and other "provocative" ad strategies were taken away from her".

This is very well said. I believe she ran out of tricks and got found out. This is the same grandstander who wants the networks to start selling ads like a NASDAQ exchange just so she can attract some attention with it.

She got away with her stupid sexually charged marketing ploys because she was an attractive young woman whose looks coupled with her risque ideas got her male superiors at Chrysler and Ford to think with their dicks.

To Roehm and the other showboats out there, shut up and sit down.

Posted by: Cable Guy on December 11, 2006 02:05 AM

I have a number of friends at GSD&M and was glad to see the agency send Walmart a "no thanks and f*%k you very much" in response to being invited to re-pitch the account.

On to bigger and better.

Posted by: Dick Walker on December 14, 2006 10:02 PM

Dumb hire by Wal-Mart - they should have known the skill set they were acquiring.

Any guesses as to (a) what her compensation was, and (b) what her severance package might be?

Posted by: ArkansasIsForHicks on December 16, 2006 02:57 PM

Anyone who is not a lightweight knows that "marketing" is about much, much more than ads and marcom drivel. Go get an MBA, learn how to spell, and then you can all do REAL marketing.

P.S. Just venting....

Posted by: ArkansasIsForHicks on December 16, 2006 03:02 PM

I'd pack her fish, but would not lick it. Not sure how many others have been there....

Posted by: ArkansasIsForHicks on December 16, 2006 03:09 PM

Roehm was clueless and got what she deserved. It's as simple as that. Trying to make excuses for her by saying "everyone does it" is extremely childish.

Of course, it would be great if she could've stayed at Wal-Mart for the next 15 years...she would've single-handedly drove it into the ground.

Posted by: Manimal on December 17, 2006 11:06 AM

Besides, my understanding is that Womack's freakishly gargantuan egg and dainty hands shouldn't have been worth the risk in the first place.

Posted by: Manimal on December 17, 2006 11:17 AM

In an America where we know more about Paris Hilton than Paris France, this who-kissed-who nonsense is perfect. Roehm, like 80% of upper level executives, wasn't there with a skillset but with shuck and jive. We continue to oust pathetic failures who do more harm than good (see Catherine West of JCPenney and Robert Nardelli of Home Depot), pay them fat wads for failing, then wait for the next wave. Where are the decent, hard-working senior managers who care more about the business than their legend?

Posted by: Curtis on January 15, 2007 10:43 AM

You only have what has been published by the media on which to base your opinions. Do you think anyone would be unjustifiably terminated by a company that large? Do we think Wal-Mart would be out to punish an advertising agency? I would think there had to be justification for discontinuing the alliance? Comments on about other individuals taking gifts and not being fired does not seen logical to me. If it happened and was known about by Wal-Mart, do you think those individuals would still be there? I don't think so. It is always unfortunate when someone with no conscience does what he/she wants and how it affects those around them. I have heard the expression "what goes around, comes around" all my life. It appears that it always ends up being true.

Posted by: Stunned on January 24, 2007 07:55 AM

Walmart wanted to take a chance with new edge marketing, and played it safe by keeping their distance. New market-head, new mktg firm...change & publicize specific variables in the marketing equation. Shoot,& if you miss the new "target market", throw darts at Julie, your scapegoat.
Walmart is NOT Target. Walmart stores are dirty, under-staffed, and the members of their staff are apathetic, clueless and useless. A Walmart ad aiming for a higher class market, what a joke. Fix the problems on the ground, don't ask the OC to come shop at the trailer park. Antibiotics must be taken as prescribed in order for them to cure the infection.

Posted by: kcc on February 4, 2007 01:39 AM

Response to Cable Guy's remarks December 11, 2006 02:05 AM

Cable Guy:

It's amazing how correct you are regarding Julie Roehm. I've see Jewels as we call her here at Chrysler in action & she is more smoke & mirrors than most realize. Julie was good at playing the drunken executive crowd; have you ever seen Auto CO Executives & Auto Dealers party; look out girls. I've worked in the Chrysler Marketing Division for 9 years & Julie had these so called executives lapping at her heels. This women had these want-a-be Executives eating out of her hand.
As far as marketing not extremely difficulty when you are marketing successful products like Chrysler 300M, Dodge New Designed Trucks or retagged Jeep skin. (I degreed from University of Michigan with an MBA in Marketing & Finance)

Marketing is not that cerebral nor awful talent oriented to figure out. Again when you?re working with a group of Auto Executives whose claim to fame is Marketing Autos by shipping vehicles to Dealers & running fire sales to move iron; someone like Julie Roehm is a shoe in. Julie went to Wall Mart with that same attitude she had here at Chrysler; I've arrived & she did get "found out" fairly quickly at "Willies World" Julie best use her 15 minuets of fame wisely as she?s clocked 13.3 minutes of fame so far. Let those Companies be aware they had better see a Business Case Analysis Marketing Plan prior to hiring Ms. Slick.

From the lower deck of this sinking ship here at DaimlerChrysler Corp in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Warren

Posted by: Warren Fitzgerald on February 23, 2007 03:59 AM

Hey Warren... perhaps they should've taught you to spell there at Michigan!

Secondly, if marketing isn't that cerebral or difficult with such "successful" products, perhaps Chrysler should redefine "successful" considering the state of your business!

Your trucks are running a distant 3rd, the Jeep Commander is a flop, and your company is up for sale. Sounds like things are really humming along!

It looks like lots of sour grapes on here to be honest. Marketing can make a good product sink or swim, but it can’t make a crappy, mispositioned product successful.

Wal-Mart would like to take some share away from Target but can’t because the merchandise, store cleanliness and atmosphere aren’t up to par. Wal-Mart’s business proposition is being challenged by increasing operational costs and customers fleeing to competitors as soon as they can afford to do so, yet they’re tied to the trailor park crowd for revenues that are at risk if they reposition themselves to a higher-end customer.

I agree that this was a “marriage” made in hell, but Wal-Mart should have known what they were getting by looking at her track record for racy, edgy campaigns. Apparently they wanted that right up until they actually had it.

But let’s not make out as if Wal-Mart is the gold standard of ethical behavior. And I’m not just talking about their (kill the locals) business model. Former vice chairman Thomas Coughlin’s misuse of funds and their abuse of employees hardly make Wal-Mart the ethical standard of measure.

Posted by: Sour Grapes on February 26, 2007 12:55 PM

Sour Grapes(February 26, 2007 12:55 PM)

Sour Grapes:

Sour Grapes: 2/28/07 10:36 CT

1st of all I can rant because I¡¦m financially tied to no one corporation and secondly having won the Michigan Classic Lotto 47 in 2006 I travel freely; physically & in thought.

To your point. ¡§Sounds like things are really humming along¡¨ Acutely it¡¦s motoring along but obviously you¡¦re neither from the motor city nor familiar with automotive dialog. I agree Sour Grapes. ¡§Marketing can make a good product sink or swim, but it can¡¦t make a crappy, mispositioned product successful. It¡¦s not ¡§mispositioned its dispositional product placement but you¡¦re a cerebral Marketer as we see from your writing.

In addition to you point. ¡§I agree that this was a ¡§marriage¡¨ made in hell, but Wal-Mart should have known what they were getting by looking at her track record for racy, edgy campaigns. Apparently they wanted that right up until they actually had it¡¨ Yes; Sour Grapes it¡¦s much like the successful Cadillac Escalade ad where the pro football player driving thru Manhattan states ¡§when success comes you better be ready to accept the challenge¡¨ Obviously; Wal-Mart is unprepared for the challenge.

Thirdly you¡¦ve been punked Sour Grapes. Your 15 minutes of fame can be seen at www.savechrysler.com (or) savechrysler.com.

Warren ļ

Posted by: Warren on February 28, 2007 11:48 AM

You know, Wal-Mart has fired much better people than Julie Roehm for much less. I'm referring to Tom Coughlin, former president of Wal-Mart stores who "acquired" a few Wal-Mart gift cards and bought himself some beef jerky and beer. Dumb mistake, but tom was highly revered and worked his ass off making Wal-Mart the company it is today. Don't be fooled into thinking that was all Lee Scott, Coughlin had a lot more to do with the success since David Glass stepped away. Say what you want, biut no one is above the law at Wal-Mart, especially bimbos like Julie roehm and peckerheads like Sean Womack.

Posted by: Arkansas bob on March 19, 2007 05:42 PM

You know, Wal-Mart has fired much better people than Julie Roehm for much less. I'm referring to Tom Coughlin, former president of Wal-Mart stores who "acquired" a few Wal-Mart gift cards and bought himself some beef jerky and beer. Dumb mistake, but tom was highly revered and worked his ass off making Wal-Mart the company it is today. Don't be fooled into thinking that was all Lee Scott, Coughlin had a lot more to do with the success since David Glass stepped away. Say what you want, biut no one is above the law at Wal-Mart, especially bimbos like Julie roehm and peckerheads like Sean Womack.

Posted by: Arkansas bob on March 19, 2007 05:42 PM

You know, Wal-Mart has fired much better people than Julie Roehm for much less. I'm referring to Tom Coughlin, former president of Wal-Mart stores who "acquired" a few Wal-Mart gift cards and bought himself some beef jerky and beer. Dumb mistake, but tom was highly revered and worked his ass off making Wal-Mart the company it is today. Don't be fooled into thinking that was all Lee Scott, Coughlin had a lot more to do with the success since David Glass stepped away. Say what you want, biut no one is above the law at Wal-Mart, especially bimbos like Julie roehm and peckerheads like Sean Womack.

Posted by: Arkansas Bob on March 19, 2007 05:44 PM

You know, Wal-Mart has fired much better people than Julie Roehm for much less. I'm referring to Tom Coughlin, former president of Wal-Mart stores who "acquired" a few Wal-Mart gift cards and bought himself some beef jerky and beer. Dumb mistake, but tom was highly revered and worked his ass off making Wal-Mart the company it is today. Don't be fooled into thinking that was all Lee Scott, Coughlin had a lot more to do with the success since David Glass stepped away. Say what you want, biut no one is above the law at Wal-Mart, especially bimbos like Julie roehm and peckerheads like Sean Womack.

Posted by: arkansas Bob on March 19, 2007 05:47 PM

And, what's up with Roehm and Womack now speaking together (according to NYTimes story >> http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/business/20walmart.html) on "digital marketing"? First, don't they get it, yet?!? They're still being TOO cozy. Second, who is running these schlock conferences, anyway -- you can't find TWO BETTER AND MORE QUALIFIED panelists for your junk events? Third, I completely agree that by all appearances, Roehm was marginally qualified at best -- I'm outside the industry, but in like 2004/2005, I saw a Fortune article that talked about how "Roehm was revving up Chrysler" with the digital marketing she was driving .... PLEASE! Wal-Mart made a collosal failure in hiring her, and then giving her carte blanche to immediately hire "contractors" like parasite Womack, who's such a moron his wife not only found his personal emails to/from Roehm, she even VOLUNTEERED them to Wal-Mart!!

An interesting question is "how do people like this recover? What do they do for the rest of their lives after such trainwrecks occur??"

Posted by: Miami on March 20, 2007 12:16 PM

FOR THE RECORD: I was there- and the shareholder meeting she organized was hours of lame. It was not too much- it was just excruciatingly bad. Who envies me for witnessing spinning shopping carts and the endless chant "it's all about the customer"? It was the visions of my work nightmares come to life. I take personal offense to my taste being questioned by me not enjoying that meeting. Y o u W e r e n ' t T h e r e .

Posted by: Jacey on March 20, 2007 02:00 PM

Wall Mart, Wall Mart, Wall Mart.! (Blow Up)

Who in their correct mind would want to work for such a low class Company in the 1st place? A blue collar Pabts Blue Ribbon beer drinking trailer trash bunch of morons.

Look at Wall Mart's moron customer base same as their trailer trash executive pool.Wall Mart move on America thinks your bad for the country & you are you Chinese trinket importer.

Posted by: Warren on March 21, 2007 12:29 AM

Wall Mart, Wall Mart, Wall Mart.! (Blow Up)

Who in their correct mind would want to work for such a low class Company in the 1st place? A blue collar Pabts Blue Ribbon beer drinking trailer trash bunch of morons.

Look at Wall Mart's moron customer base same as their trailer trash executive pool.Wall Mart move on America thinks your bad for the country & you are you Chinese trinket importer.

Posted by: Warren on March 21, 2007 12:30 AM

I was also at the shareholder meeting and her so-called "off-Broadway" play was more like an elementary school production. An actress actually sang a love song to a picture of Sam Walton. That was too sappy and uncomfortable even for an arena full of Wal-Mart fans.

Posted by: MM on April 17, 2007 06:17 PM

I just found this place and it is hilarious reading some of these comments related to the advertising profession and the people in it.

When are people going to realize that advertising is not a profession. It is one step up from being a used car salesman. And most of the people in it are shallow as hell. But damn it the drinking, womanizing, office party's and exploitation of the masses was fun. There hasn't been one great creative advertising concept come out since Helmut Krone did the Volkswagon campaign.

What Scientology is to religion Advertising is to exploitation.

Excuse me, but will someone pass the Absolute?

Posted by: boomernavy on June 5, 2007 08:47 AM

I've been sort of following the Julie Roehm saga for some time now, and I'm getting plenty tired of it. I can no longer hold my tongue, and must add my 2 cents.

I've been doing business with Julie for several years, and I must say she's the nicest, most sincere person you'll ever meet.

All this trash you've been reading about Julie is just that, TRASH. She is happily married and has 2 young sons, aged 6 and 9. I am familiar with both her and her husband. Why would she do anything to jepordize her family? Surely Sean is just not worth it.

Maybe she flirted with Sean, but who hasen't flirted every once in a while? If I were cited every time I flirted, I would have been divorced over 40 years ago. Get a grip, if you've never flirted, you must live under a rock.

As much as I love Wal-Mart, they are wrong, wrong, wrong. We are in the 2000's, not 1900's. Things have changed, and Wal-Mart's approach to advertising is perhaps a bit archaic. I only hope they loosen up a bit while they can.

As to Julie, I'm still with you.

PJS

Posted by: Paul on November 6, 2007 03:02 PM

PJS -- wake up and smell the coffee. If her profile is like the majority of corporate leadership, she was playing hide the salami with impunity, which likely included a litany of boy toys her whole career. Do I judge her? Of course not. I'm sure she's the nicest person you'd ever want to meet and whatever, but to think nice people don't have affairs is ridiculous and naive. She was taking the one-eyed wonder wizard to tuna town, plain and simple, but who gives a rat's ass? The real deal is whether she violated her contract. Did she? Yes. And when the dust settled she didn't have the stones or the truthor the talent on her side to pursue it. So lo these many months later she backs down where no one knows the difference.

Posted by: Smell The Coffee on November 6, 2007 06:35 PM

PJS -- wake up and smell the coffee. If her profile is like the majority of corporate leadership, she was playing hide the salami with impunity, which likely included a litany of boy toys her whole career. Do I judge her? Of course not. I'm sure she's the nicest person you'd ever want to meet and whatever, but to think nice people don't have affairs is ridiculous and naive. She was taking the one-eyed wonder wizard to tuna town, plain and simple, but who gives a rat's ass? The real deal is whether she violated her contract. Did she? Yes. And when the dust settled she didn't have the stones or the truth or the talent on her side to pursue it. So lo these many months later she backs down where no one knows the difference.

Posted by: Smell The Coffee on November 6, 2007 06:36 PM

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