Idea City Wins Marshalls, Popeyes Accounts

Agency on Rebound After Losing Major Clients

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- GSD&M Idea City is showing signs of springing back with the addition of a retailer and a fast feeder to its client roster. The Omnicom Group shop has been named creative agency of record for Marshalls stores and Popeyes restaurants following two separate reviews.
Popeyes operates shy of 2,000 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad, and spent $28 million on domestic measured media last year according to TNS Media Intelligence.
Popeyes operates shy of 2,000 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad, and spent $28 million on domestic measured media last year according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Marshalls spent $46.4 million on domestic measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The Framingham, Mass., retailer, which is owned by TJX Cos., sells apparel and home goods at nearly 800 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Mullen steps in
Idea City replaces Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen, Winston-Salem, which serves as agency of record for Marshalls' sibling T.J. Maxx, and had stepped in to help on the Marshalls account following the retailer's split with its prior agency of record, Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group. Media duties on the account will continue to be handled by Interpublic's Hill Holliday, Boston.

"We conducted an informal review this time. ... We went at a pretty aggressive pace," but "it was a very clear decision to us," said Karen Coppola, senior VP-marketing, Marshalls/T.J. Maxx. Along with Idea City, also pitching the account were Havas' Arnold Worldwide, independent Richards Group, and Hill Holliday and Mullen, Ms. Coppola said.

For Marshalls, Idea City will handle national creative duties, including TV, print and online advertising, with a particular focus on helping the retailer to boost sales and grow its shopper base.

Popeyes seeks new image
Popeyes, meanwhile, which operates shy of 2,000 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad and whose parent is AFC Enterprises, spent $28 million on domestic measured media last year to market its Southern-style fried chicken and other fast-food products, according to TNS Media Intelligence. It launched a search for a new agency of record earlier this year, as the brand seeks ways to reach a younger and more diverse demographic.

Dick Lynch, Popeyes' chief marketing officer, said the chain has "a number of new menu offerings coming up in the very near future" and is prepping to unveil "a new brand identity."

Idea City, which Mr. Lynch credited for its consumer insight and strategic thinking, replaces incumbent FKM, Houston, and initial work is expected to break in late summer.

On the upswing
Idea City had hit a rough patch with the loss of marquee clients such as Wal-Mart, Chili's and AT&T -- the latter a particularly unpleasant bump that spurred a round of layoffs at the agency last fall.

But since then, the shop has been showing signs of recovery. Earlier this year Idea City reclaimed some of its AT&T business, successfully defended its U.S. Air Force account (a multiyear contract that carries potentially more than $300 million in billings) and picked up apparel and outdoor-equipment retailer L.L. Bean's $40 million account after a review.
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