T.J. Maxx, Mullen Go Separate Ways After Almost a Decade

Retailer Aims to Find New Creative Agency by June

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bargain retailer T.J. Maxx is parting ways with Mullen, its creative agency of nearly a decade, and is now on the hunt for a replacement.

The review, which is focused on broadcast creative, does not include media duties. Media will continue to be handled by Mullen's Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling Hill Holliday, Boston.

In a statement, T.J. Maxx VP-Marketing Jo-Anne Harris Nyer complimented Mullen for being an "outstanding marketing partner over the years," but said the retailer is seeking a shop that can bring "fresh perspectives" to its creative. The search process is being managed by Boston-based search consultancy Pile & Co., and T.J. Maxx said it aims to select a new agency by June.

It's unclear how many agencies are being invited to participate in the pitch, but Mullen will not defend the account. "We're extremely proud of the work we've done for T.J. Maxx and for our contribution to their success," a Mullen spokesman told Ad Age. "We wish them well in the future." The account had been handled out of the agency's Winston-Salem, N.C., office since 2000.

T.J. Maxx is owned by Framingham, Mass.-based TJX Cos., which is also the parent of other off-price retail chains such as Marshalls and HomeGoods. The company has held up better than most in the recession. It reported a 4% net sales increase in 2008, along with a 1% increase in sales at stores open at least a year. In February, same-store sales were flat.

In 2008, the company devoted more than $40 million on U.S. measured media to market the T.J. Maxx brand, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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