Sears’ search for a new brand positioning is down to three agencies and lead creative shop Young & Rubicam is not among them.
As such, Y&R faces a significant revenue loss from a marketer that fuels its Chicago office. Last year, Sears spent $365 million in media, according to Nielsen. The WPP Group agency has worked on the brand since 1993.
That said, Y&R is expected to keep some Sears business, most likely in the realm of retail marketing, review participants said. The shop also is competing for assignments in specific product categories, such as fashion. Y&R and Sears had no comment.
Contending for the Sears brand assignment are Fallon in Minneapolis, mcgarrybowen in New York and Chicago and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston. Sears executives briefed the finalists last month and work sessions will take place this week. (Arnold in Boston also was briefed but has since exited the review.) Final presentations are scheduled for late April at Sears’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
The product-specific pitches are separate from the brand contest but are happening concurrently. Similarly, fellow Sears Holdings Corp. brand Kmart is seeking a shop to handle fashion advertising. That agency would work alongside lead creative shop Draftfcb in Chicago.
Kmart is considering three finalists for the fashion assignment, participants said. The identity of all those shops could not be ascertained. Kmart’s media spending totaled $125 million last year.
Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., is managing the process.
Not in play are Sears’ media business, now at MPG in Chicago, and the retailer’s public relations business, at Euro RSCG PR in New York. Direct marketing and customer relationship management efforts remain in-house.