JCPenney’s split with Saatchi & Saatchi comes a month after the retailer added Peterson Milla Hooks to its creative roster  and amid the company’s shift toward a multi-agency model. The merchant also hired Mother recently.
The new approach represents a break with the company’s past practice of parking most of its business at a single shop. Before Saatchi—which had worked on the brand since 2006 —the lead agency was DDB, and before that, Temerlin McClain.
The new strategy takes a page from Target’s old playbook. Before consolidating the bulk of its account at Wieden + Kennedy last year, Target employed multiple creative shops, including Wieden and Peterson Milla Hooks.
In that context, Penney’s shift is logical, given that new president Michael Francis used to run marketing at Target. Francis, who joined Penney in October, is overseeing marketing while the company seeks a new chief marketing officer. The last CMO, Mike Boylston, left in July.
Penney’s new CEO, Ron Johnson, also is ex-Target, though he spent his last 11 years at Apple, where he led retail efforts. Johnson joined Penney in November.
Penney’s media spending totaled nearly $340 million last year, up from around $305 million in 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.