After 5 Years, JCPenney And Saatchi Part Ways

JC Penney

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After a five-year partnership, JCPenney and advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi have called it quits.”Both J.C. Penney and Saatchi mutually decided to end our relationship,” a spokesperson for Penney told Ad Age. 

The split, however, was not entirely unexpected.

Last month, in an attempt to reinvigorate sales after a third quarter decline and a predicted flat holiday season, Penney brought Minneapolis agency Peterson Milla Hooks on to work on its general market creative account. This meant that Saatchi had share the advertising pie, and Penney’s single lead agency model was no more.

Kate Coultas, a spokesperson for Penney, told the New York Times that the sharing would be “part of [their] multi-agency strategy.” Lynne Collins, a spokesperson for Saatchi, said that they were “in sync” with the new elements that Penney was introducing.

Well, not for long.

Adweek pointed out that the retailer’s new strategy mirrors Target’s previous model of utilising multiple creative agencies — which also included PMH.

Interestingly enough, former Target chief marketing officer Michael Francis took over as Penney’s president in October. Francis is working alongside former Apple and Target exec Ron Johnson, who started as Penney’s CEO in November.

Marketing changes are rampant at Penney. In early December, the retailer hired entertainment and consumer PR agency PMK-BNC. This marked the end of their six-year relationship with M Booth & Associates.

Saatchi took on Penney’s account in 2006, and the agency is probably best remembered for their “Beware the Doghouse” campaign in 2008 — the concept of which was that men give their girlfriends and wives really bad gifts… like vacuum cleaners. The webisode was featured on a website that got millions of views, and the campaign also allowed customers to use social media to put their loved ones in said doghouse.

Saatchi also changed the tag line “It’s All Inside” — created by Penney’s former agency, DDB — to “Every Day Matters.”

According to Ad Age’s DataCenter Penney allocated a total of $1.32 billion for U.S. marketing and is the nation’s 25th largest advertiser.

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