Deutsch LA was barely done celebrating the win of some creative duties on the $1.5 billion Target ad account last week when the company announced it had hired a new chief marketing officer—from competing agency McKinney in Durham, N.C.Client turnover often spells disaster for agencies—Target’s ad business was handled by Wieden + Kennedy for years before the former CMO, Michael Francis, left to go work at JC Penney. The company promptly staged an agency review, and W+K didn’t compete.
Creative tasks are now being handed out on a project basis. MDC Partners’ Mono, Minneapolis, also has an assignment, according to Ad Age.
Deutsch is big enough, and has the type of creative sensibility and experience to have eventually taken over the entire business. (Mono is a small shop and doesn’t have the firepower to run the entire account.) Deutsch must surely have been licking its lips at the prospect.
But the arrival of Jeff Jones, the former president of McKinney, makes that a lot more complicated. Consciously or not, Jones will be mentally comparing Deutsch’s work to the work McKinney could be doing for the brand. He knows McKinney’s capabilities much more intimately than he knows Deutsch’s.
Assuming Jones left on good terms, the loss couldn’t be better news for McKinney. The account is still officially in play and any piece of it would be a huge step up for the agency, which is a regional powerhouse that has been looking to cement itself onto the national stage for more than a decade.
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