mcgarrybowen Bows Out of Sears Review

By Patrick Coffee 

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The agency’s official position is “no comment,” but today an AdAge report and a source close to the matter claim that mcgarrybowen has resigned the Sears account rather than participate in a pending creative review.

Three years after its last full review, the client began making some agency moves back in early 2014 by sending its KCD or Kenmore Craftsman Diehard work from Y&R to Havas Chicago.


Y&R lost the client’s primary creative account to mcgarrybowen in May 2011 after 18 years; prior to that move, Sears made headlines in the industry for demanding ownership of “all creative work done by agencies pitching for the brand” no matter who won the account. We have no word on whether that’s still the case. Back in 2011, Adam Wohl (who is, appropriately, now an ECD at mcgarrybowen) made a video mocking the above request — but that video has since been set to “private.”

Last November, sources told Adweek that the company had begun reaching out to every major holding company, but today’s AdAge report claims that Sears recently placed the review on hold due to internal complications. What might those be? The company will announce its earnings for the latest quarter on Thursday, and yesterday The Motley Fool noted that Sears “is losing an estimated $7 million a day” despite closing some 200 stores in 2014; the writer wonders whether the chain will exist in its current form one year from now. (We should also note that Sears Holdings owns Kmart, which has been with FCB since 2007.)

mcgarrybowen’s most recent work for the soon-to-be-former client is December’s #MoreToYou holiday shopping campaign.

UPDATE: Here is the official statement from Sears VP/Chief Digital Marketing Officer Bill Kiss, who is leading the review process:

“We thank the McGarryBowen team for their work and partnership in support of the Sears brand and wish them well.  Our multifaceted process continues and we are confident we will ultimately select the right agency to support our continued transformation. In the interim, we will work with our incumbent agencies to pick up the Sears brand work.”