Grey Wins 2: T.J. Maxx, Reliant Energy

BOSTON WPP Group’s Grey today said it added assignments from T.J. Maxx and Reliant Energy following separate reviews.

To pick up $35 million in broadcast creative chores from discount retailer T.J. Maxx, Grey in New York outpaced three other shops that also made final presentations: Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in Dallas and Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, and Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas. IPG’s Lowe in New York also reached the last round but did not make a final presentation, per Pile and Co., the consultancy here that oversaw the process. (Client roster shop GSD&M recently launched ads promoting T.J. Maxx and sibling chain Marshalls, marking the first time the brands had been advertised together in a major push.)

Mullen in Winston-Salem, S.C., a unit of Interpublic Group, was the incumbent, having worked on the business for nearly a decade. That agency, headquartered in Boston, did not participate in the competition.

Jo-Anne Harris Nyer, T.J. Maxx vp, marketing director, said: “This is an exciting time for T.J. Maxx and we believe the combination of Grey’s strategic insights, retail expertise and creativity will help us continue to drive the business going forward.”

IPG’s Hill, Holliday in Boston handles media chores across TJX properties, including T.J. Maxx. That portion of the account was not in play. TJX is based in Framingham, Mass.

T.J. Maxx and Marshalls — reporting as Marmaxx — said combined 2008 sales were basically flat at $12.4 billion.

Separately, Grey West in San Francisco, in collaboration with Grey N.Y., added Reliant Energy of Texas following a review. Reliant spent close to $25 million last year in domestic measured media, per Nielsen. Reliant was acquired on May 1 by NRG Energy.

Jim Heekin, chairman and CEO of Grey Group, said: “We look forward to helping drive the growth of this outstanding energy brand in Texas, the heart of America’s energy industry, in the years ahead.”

Reliant’s most recent lead shop was The Richards Group in Dallas, which sources said did not defend. Grey upended four other undisclosed finalists to win the business.