Lands' End's selection of McKinney + Silver marks the agency's first win under president Brad Brinegar, who joined the shop eight months ago.
McKinney, a unit of Havas in Raleigh, N.C., bested Interpublic Group's Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis and The Richards Group in Dallas for the $20 million account.
Since Brinegar's ar-rival, three months after the death of agency president Don Maurer, the shop has come up short in four out of five reviews, including the finals for Earthlink's $30 million business.
"There wasn't as tight a link be-tween strategy and creative as there should have been," Brinegar said.
"I'm taking a certain amount of time to know my team and what we should be going after," he said. "Frontier was the first time we talked about ourselves the way I want to." Nevertheless, the agency was eliminated in the second round of that review.
Lands' End vice president and creative director Lee Eisenberg called the decision to hire Mc-Kinney "pretty unanimous." He said the shop understood and respected the role of the client's large in-house ad department.
Art directors and copywriters at the Dodgeville, Wis., client can ex-pect to interact regularly with its new agency. Catalog work for the 40-year-old company will continue to be produced internally, but McKinney will provide the Lands' End creative staff with what Eisenberg called "a series of serves and volleys."
Agency executive creative director David Baldwin said positioning for Lands' End will not change. "The best thing we can do is create drama around a problem, but they didn't have one," Baldwin said. "Their drama is to be who they are."
Part of the shop's marketing challenge is to find new customers for Lands' End that fit its historically affluent, literate demographic—and then direct them to Sears, which bought Lands' End in July.
Lands' End will shift from its primarily direct-sales roots in February, when its merchandise debuts in 850 Sears stores.
Havas' MPG in New York will handle broadcast buying. McKinney will plan and buy print media.