Macy's Moves $500 Million Media Account to Carat

Incumbent Was WPP's MEC

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After a months-long review, Macy's has moved its media account from WPP's MEC to Aegis' Carat, Ad Age has learned.

"After a thorough review of its media broadcast and digital business, Macy's has selected Carat as its media-agency partner," said a Macy's spokeswoman. "Carat will be responsible for media planning and buying for Macy's broadcast and digital."

Macy's
Macy's

The size of the business is significant, and marks one of the biggest media reviews this year. According to people familiar with the matter, Macy's media spending is about $500 million. According to Ad Age 's DataCenter , on the whole, including creative and digital, the ad budget for Cincinnati-based Macy's Inc--which includes Bloomingdales stores--is upwards of $1 billion in the United States.

It's understood that a variety of shops from different holding companies were contenders in the pitch, including: the incumbent, WPP's MEC; Aegis' Carat; Interpublic Group of Cos' Initiative ; and Publicis Groupe 's Starcom and Razorfish. The move to invite shops rooted in digital like Razorfish, and traditional like Carat, indicates an objective to evaluate both on- and offline strategy separately.

The agencies either declined to comment, referred comment to the client or could not be reached by press time.

A spokesperson told Ad Age in June that the review was "not triggered by dissatisfaction with MEC, a valued partner of Macy's ." Still, losing the business is another hurdle for MEC, which has lost several sizable accounts in 2011. Marla Kaplowitz joined the firm late last year as CEO, North America.

Peter Sachse, who has led Macy's marketing at various points since 2003, including when the business shifted from Starcom to MEC, became chief stores officer. Martine Reardon took on the CMO role following Mr. Sachse's move in February.

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