Accounts in Review: Here’s Why Dentsu Left the Sears Holdings Battle

Despite being an incumbent with a shot at a larger share of Sears Holdings' business, Dentsu has exited the company's review of all marketing services for Sears and Kmart.

The lead creative agency on Dentsu's team was mcgarrybowen, which had worked on Sears since 2011. But a source said the agency reconsidered the pitch after its current contract expired without renewal and marketing chief Imran Jooma left the company to join Finish Line.

Also, what started out as a review focusing on credentials and integration has evolved into a creative pitch and all the costs associated with that. So, rather than hang in and spend more, with no new contract in sight, mcgarrybowen resigned its account. Sears Holdings still has plenty of choices, however, given that five other holding company teams remain in the hunt. Total account revenue is estimated at more than $20 million.


Unilever: Global Media

Media spend: $5 billion
Incumbents: Mindshare, Initiative, PHD
Contenders: Incumbents, possibly others
Decision: December


Hershey: Creative

Media spend: $650 million
Incumbent: Arnold (traditional), Havas Worldwide (digital)
Contenders: Incumbents, undisclosed others
Completion: April



Sears/Kmart: Creative, Media

Media spend: $560 million
Incumbents: Sears: mcgarrybowen, Havas Worldwide, Havas Media; Kmart: FCB, Havas Media
Contenders: Teams from Interpublic, Omnicom, Havas, WPP, Publicis Groupe
Completion: May


JCPenney: Media

Media spend: $430 million
Incumbent: OMD
Contenders: Incumbent, undetermined others
Completion: March


Royal Caribbean: Creative

Media spend: $80 million
Incumbent: JWT
Contenders: Incumbent, others to be determined
Completion: May




Scotts Miracle-Gro: Media

Media spend: $80 million
Incumbent: MEC, Active International
Contenders: MEC, Horizon Media, Zenith Media, Mediahub, Havas Media
Consultant: Pile + Co.
Completion: March



CarMax: Media

Media spend: $70 million
Incumbent: In house
Contenders: Horizon Media, OMD, Vizeum
Completion: March


Ameriprise Financial: Creative

Media spend: $40 million
Incumbent: R/GA
Contenders: McCann Erickson, FCB Garfinkel, Zimmerman Advertising, Merkley + Partners
Consultant: Pile + Co.
Completion: March