Initiative Media Unit in Driver’s Seat for Gordmans

Initiative Media’s new division, IM Partners, appears poised to win the $7 million media account of Gordmans department store chain, sources said.

IM Partners, based in Los Angeles, was expected to be awarded the media buying and planning business after a brief review that also involved Chicago media shops Carat USA and CIA USA, sources said. An Initiative Media representative confirmed IM Partners was involved in the pitch, but would not offer further details. Other agency officials declined comment.

IM Partners was launched by Initiative Media in January to offer media buying services to smaller clients and advertising agencies.

Michael Hammond, advertising director for the the Omaha, Neb.-based retailer, denied the media business was in play.

Bailey Lauerman in Lincoln, Neb., has handled creative duties for Gordmans for the past three years. “We continue to strategically work creative, and I know discussions are taking place with their media planning,” said Richard Bailey, the agency’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Gordmans, which opened two stores in April in the Quad Cities, is looking for a large media shop as it expands in the Midwest, a source said. It currently has 35 stores in nine states in the region, according to company reports.

“Our understanding is [that] they are looking to expand media and make TV buys promoting the shops’ unique features,” a source said.

Gordmans seeks to differentiate itself in a number of ways, including having in stores a children’s theater and a seating area where customers can watch sports on TV. The retailer is promoting itself as a company that offers top brands at lower prices than it s competitors, such as T.J. Maxx and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Gordmans, a family-owned and privately held company, spent $3 million on advertising through October 2000, according to Competitive Media Reporting.