Talbots Picks Publicis

BOSTON Talbots has hired Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in New York to handle its estimated $20 million ad account following a review, the retailer said today.

Andrea McKenna, svp, marketing and catalog development at Talbots, said in a statement: “We are pleased to be working with Publicis, as we believe they will provide a new and innovative approach to marketing Talbots strong classic brand image.”

Havas’ Arnold here had handled the Hingham, Mass.-based business for 10 years.

The other finalists were independent The Richards Group in Dallas and Publicis Groupe-owned The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York. Pile and Co., the Boston-based consulting firm, oversaw the search.

The chain operates nearly 1,400 stores in 47 states and the U.K.

Arnold last year orchestrated a TV, print, Internet and sweepstakes push that focused on Talbots’ employees. The work, stressing customer service, featured many of the chain’s more than 11,000 associates in newspaper ads and in a 170-page catalog with their names, photos, stores and length of time with the company. The effort posed the question, “What kind of classic are you?”

The agency is losing another client, Royal Caribbean, which has split with Arnold and is now eyeing three contenders for its estimated $75 million business. On the plus side, Arnold has recently added work from Volvo and Bahamas Tourism.