Pile and Co. has begun contacting about 20 agencies to pitch T.J. Maxx. East Coast or Midwest shops with some retail experience are preferred. About six se-mifinalists will be tapped next month; a final decision will come before the end of the year.
T.J. Maxx has been with Ingalls and its successor agency, Holland Mark Advertising, for nearly 25 years. Holland Mark's portion consists mainly of broadcast creative chores.
The budget for the T.J. Maxx business is $20 million, said Karen Coppola, vp of marketing for the retail chain, a unit of TJX Cos. in Framingham, Mass. Ad spending last year for T.J. Maxx was $30 million, per Competitive Media Reporting. The client has handled print work in-house.
In a related development, TJX's A.J. Wright chain split with Holland Mark and has assigned its account to The Link Agency, Providence, R.I. TJX's HomeGoods division is also breaking with Holland Mark and is seeking a new shop.
Changes in management and philosophy at Holland Mark in Boston and the client apparently caused the relationship to deteriorate. Mutual dissatisfaction has grown since Holland Mark ac-quired crosstown agency Ingalls late last year, sources said.
Coppola said, "It was time to pursue a new opportunity." Holland Mark chief executive Bill Davis declined to address the relation-ship issue.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, which works for TJX's Marshalls chain, has not decided if it will pursue T.J. Maxx.