GSD&M Snares Pair: Marshalls, Popeyes

BOSTON Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City continues to stage a comeback, adding TJX Cos.’ Marshalls off-price clothing stores and Popeyes chicken restaurants following separate reviews, a representative at the Austin, Texas-based shop said late Monday.

Marshalls, the off-price retailer in Framingham, Mass., spent nearly $50 million on domestic ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Spending at Popeyes has typically been in the $40-million range.

“Our customers trust us to provide brand name merchandise at a great price,” said Emily Trent, vp, marketing at Marshalls. With GSD&M’s “proven track record in the retail industry and their experience with some of America’s most well-known brands, we are confident that this partnership will effectively communicate the Marshalls brand story,” she said.

Marshalls had most recently worked with IPG’s Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C., on creative chores, which now shift to GSD&M. Mullen handled that business for about a year, and continues to serve as lead agency on TJX’s T.J. Maxx account.

Duff Stewart, president and COO of GSD&M, said: “We look forward to this partnership — not only to help grow their brand, but to preserve the Marshalls experience and consumer connection.”

A Mullen representative said there would be no layoffs in the N.C. office because of other recent gains. However, another key client in that office, Wachovia, placed its account in review as the year began. Mullen is defending that $120 million business. Select Resources International is guiding the process.

Marshalls shifted to Mullen 10 months ago from Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, which had worked on the business for about two years.

Hill, Holliday in Boston, also an IPG shop, continues to handle Marshalls’ media-buying duties.

Atlanta-based Popeyes recently worked with independent FKM in Houston and had called a review this spring. FKM did not defend, but sources said the shop is expected to retain some regional assignments from the client.

GSD&M posted estimated revenue of $112 million in 2007 on flat billings around $1.8 billion and has been in the midst of a reinvention following a rough year that saw it lose perhaps $1 billion in AT&T business, as well as Chili’s ($75 million) and Frito-Lay’s Tostitos ($40 million).

The shop began ’08 well, hanging onto the U.S. Air Force account in a review that closed in April. That work, long held by GSD&M, is worth $370 million over 10 years.