JWT Says No Post-Kohl’s Layoffs

Executives at J. Walter Thompson in Detroit said losing Kohl’s Department Stores’ $40-50 million broadcast advertising account shouldn’t lead to layoffs.
“It’s a bit of a hit, but we’ve experienced these kinds of things before and we will rebound,” said Steve Brown, the office’s executive vice president and general manager.
Following a process that started in the spring [Adweek, May 8],the Menomonee Falls, Wis., retailer moved its broadcast advertising account to McCann-Erickson in New York. Julie Gardner, Kohl’s senior vice president of marketing, said the company did not undertake a formal review but contacted a “select group of agencies” that she declined identify.
Gardner said JWT defended; Brown said the agency was not informed of the review. “We knew that they were not necessarily telling us the full goods all the way through the last four months, and for whatever reasons they’ve decided to make this change,” Brown said. “Clients have their prerogative to choose their partners, or suppliers as it is in this case, and they made the choice.”
JWT will continue to work on the account through a 90-day transition period, completing Kohl’s back-to-school campaign in the process. McCann’s first work will be expected in time for the holiday shopping season.
Gardner said the shift comes as a “critical point” for the company, which is working on developing a national presence.
Kohl’s spent nearly $43 million on spot television and radio advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. K