Macy’s Seeks Hispanic Agency

NEW YORK Macy’s, a unit of Federated Department Stores, has embarked on a search for a Hispanic agency to handle its national advertising. The retailer last week sent out a request for proposal to 10 Hispanic and multicultural shops.

Agencies that have already been contacted by the retailer and are participating in this week’s presentations include Siboney USA, Conill, Latinvox and Interpublic Group’s GlobalHue, according to sources. Macy’s West’s Brian Weart, director of marketing, and Stacey Osborn, vice president of marketing, planning and analysis, are leading the review. They have been hosting candidates this week at Macy’s West’s offices in San Francisco.

According to the RFP, Macy’s seeks an agency to begin work on a project to adapt the retailer’s general-market work, created by Interpublic Group’s Lowe, to the Hispanic market. In a second phase to be executed later this year, the selected agency will be asked “to provide a full range of marketing services including brand and strategy development, research, creative development and production, as well as assistance with media planning and buying.”

Four agencies selected from the meetings being held this week will be chosen as finalists and asked to make presentations to Macy’s West during the week of March 21.

“Our goal is to name a new agency at the first of April,” states the RFP. The company is interested in an agency that can potentially do other multicultural work and has experience working with a general-market shop.

Enlace Communications, which has been the agency for Macy’s West for more than nine years, will not participate in the bidding, said founder and CEO Rochelle Newman-Carrasco.

Previously, the retailer did not have a Hispanic shop and would translate Lowe’s ads into Spanish.

Macy’s spent $357 million on all measured media in 2003 and $246 million through October 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Of that, the company spent $4.9 million on Hispanic measured media in 2003 and $3.4 million through November 2004.

Those totals include work done by both Macy’s East and West divisions. The retailer has five divisions: East, West, Central, Northwest and Florida. The company has seen sales squeezed from low-cost retailers such as Target as well as higher end stores like Neiman Marcus.

“They probably picked 10 agencies to make the East and West and Miami happy. They have to find someone that can please everybody,” said one source in the Hispanic agency world. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a lot of adaptation and maybe some original. We’ll see. The story will be more interesting once you actually see who they pick and what kind of work they are going to do.”