JCPenney Names mcgarrybowen Its New Creative AOR

By Erik Oster 

JCPenney named mcgarrybowen as its new creative agency of record, taking over for incumbent Doner Detroit without a review.

JCPenny chose Doner Detroit as its creative agency of record in October 2013, along with EVB as its digital agency and Victors & Spoils as its social agency. Going forward, the client’s digital and social accounts will be handled by New York agency Narrative, which Russell Simmons launched in 2013. 

“After thoughtful consideration, JCPenney has decided to end its relationship with Doner as its advertising agency of record,” a JCPenney spokesperson told Adweek, adding, “…for the past two years, Doner has played an integral role in helping us reconnect with our customers as we stabilized our company. As we look to the future, we feel now is the appropriate time to make a change in agency as we build on the momentum of our resurgence and shift our marketing focus from stabilization to growing our business.”


Doner co-CEO David Demuth defended the agency’s work for the client in an internal memo obtained by Adweek, pointing out that the brand saw “six quarters of same-store sales growth, reversing the nine consecutive quarters of sales decreases” since the agency took over and pointing out that they created  “the top-rated campaign on the 2014 Oscars broadcast.” 

For mcgarrybowen, the account win is an important one. Despite the client’s initial claims to the contrary, the agency lost its lead creative status on the Verizon account to W+K early this year and then lost its Chase account to Droga5 this summer. International CEO and president of mcgarrybowen Chicago Tim Scott also left the agency this spring for a position as senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Land O’Lakes. 

According to a spokesperson for JCPenney, mcgarrybowen “has already begun working on our 2016 spring marketing plans.”