Mono Picks Up Grocery Creative for Target

Retailer Says More Agency Assignments to Follow

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Despite the lack of a CMO, Target is beginning to sketch out a new agency strategy to fill the void left by its split with Wieden & Kennedy at the beginning of this year.

The retailer has awarded an agency in its backyard--Minneapolis-based Mono--its creative account for its grocery and food business after a review, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mono, which is owned by MDC Partners, declined to comment and referred calls to Target . Also included in the review for the business were 72andSunny, another MDC-owned agency, and independent Olson. Olson currently handles digital work for Target . Both Olson and 72andSunny declined to comment on the matter.

"Target recently added Mono to our roster of talented agencies, and we are excited to work with their team," said Dustee Tucker Jenkins, Target 's VP-communications, in a statement.

The grocery assignment to Mono suggests that Target won't be able to to rely on in-house resources and it's current roster of shops, as the company had initially announced. At the time of its split with Wieden & Kennedy, SVP-Marketing Shawn Gensch said, "Looking forward, we are focused on continuing to identify fresh and innovative ways to tell Target 's brand story, and will leverage both our internal expertise and our strong roster of agency partners to help accomplish our marketing goals in 2012 and beyond."

It appears now that Target is looking to dole out the business that had been handled by Wieden in smaller portions rather than hiring one agency as a replacement. It's believed that other pieces of the business are also in review and more new shops will likely be announced in the coming days.

"We are focused on continuing to identify fresh and innovative ways to tell Target 's brand story, which includes the addition of new agency partners," said Ms. Jenkins.

Meanwhile, Target is still on the hunt for a new CMO to succeed Michael Francis, who defected to J.C. Penney Co.last fall.

Target has been increasing its marketing spending on its grocery line. Last year it spent about $39.7 million on grocery, up from $32.3 million in 2010, according to Kantar. The retailer spent nearly $683 million overall on measured media in 2011.

Contributing: Natalie Zmuda

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