Under new leadership, J.C. Penney has added new partners to its agency roster and in that effort, squeezed out its AOR of five years, Publicis Groupe-owned Saatchi. In October, Target’s marketing chief Michael Francis resigned to become president at J.C. Penney. Francis brought on a new set of agency partners, following his edict not to consolidated creative at a single agency. He first tapped indie creative agency Peterson Milla Hooks (PMH), followed by Interpublic’s PMK-BNC and the latest addition is Mother, New York.
“Both J.C. Penney and Saatchi mutually decided to end our relationship,” a spokeswoman for J.C. Penney told Ad Age, which noted the ink is not yet dry on the separation agreement, but the companies are in the final stages of reaching a pact to part ways.
According to the most recent ad spend figures from Ad Age’s Datacenter, J.C. Penney was the 25th largest national advertiser, with a total of $1.32 billion devoted to U.S. marketing. That figure is likely to fall, however, given that the retailer is struggling with sales due to weakened consumer spending and competition from rivals like Macy’s and Kohl’s.
Francis knows both PMH and Mother from his days at Target, and so it’s very possible any future shops J.C. Penney brings onto the roster could be ones he’s worked with in the past as well.
J.C. Penney is typically a major advertiser during the Academy Awards, set for 2/26 this year. JCP also inked a 10-year deal with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia earlier this month, so creative for that will likely be cooked up as well.