The Payless RFP notes that the advertiser “has moved away from a discount mass merchant approach and adopted a merchandising strategy of current fashion-at-a-value to offer today’s fashions today. Going forward, Payless wants marketing and advertising that will make the consumer feel proud of shopping at Payless, thereby increasing her Payless purchases, and to generate new customer interest in shopping at Payless.” The three finalists were asked to develop what for a retailer review is the almost-obligatory back-to-school campaign. Key decision makers in the process are chief marketing officer Jack Guze, who was promoted to the post from Payless’ Parade of Shoes chain last September; vice president of creative marketing Eran Cohen, who joined the company from Gap in 2003; and Don Hamblin, vice president of strategic marketing, a Procter & Gamble and Lenscrafters vet who joined in 2000. Agencies have not been instructed either to use Star Jones or dump her, but she is expected to figure in all three pitches, “though not necessarily in advertising,” said one source.
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