Talbots in Play

BOSTON Talbots said it has hired consultancy Pile and Co. here to lead a review of its ad account, which has been handled by Havas’ Arnold for a decade. Boston-based Arnold will defend, the client said.

The client in recent years has spent approximately $20 million annually in domestic measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“Talbots has determined this is the appropriate time to conduct an agency review. As Talbots continues to grow its well-established brand, it remains committed to partnering with an agency that will help the company achieve its significant growth opportunities and build on its legacy as the retail destination for the 35+ customer,” the Hingham, Mass.-based client said in a statement.

The review is slated to be completed by November.

The chain operates nearly 1,400 stores in 47 states and the U.K., though 1,135 of those stores are J. Jill locations.

Arnold last year orchestrated a television, print, Internet and sweepstakes push that 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 photos, their names, stores and length of time with the company. The effort posed the question, “What kind of classic are you?”

Last September, Arnold helped Talbots make its first foray into Internet brand building, launching a Web site that let women customize outfits for vacation getaways.

“We love working with Talbots and understand that with new management sometimes comes a desire to audit areas of the business. That said, we are ready to re-pitch and plan to do so out of our New York office, with a team armed with tremendous fashion experience,” said Pam Hamlin, president of Arnold in Boston.