Peterson Milla Hooks, Target Part Ways

Minneapolis Agency Picked up Kmart Account This Week, Also Works With Gap's Athleta Brand

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Peterson Milla Hooks and Target have confirmed that their longtime relationship is coming to an end. The Minneapolis-based independent has been responsible for many of Target 's most beloved campaigns over the last dozen years, including "Sign of the Times," "Color My World," "Design for All" and "Hello Goodbuy." It also produced campaigns to promote the retailer's popular design partnerships with labels such as Liberty of London, Michael Graves, Sonia Kashuk and others.

In 2009 Wieden & Kennedy was tapped as Target 's lead agency, as the retailer made major changes to its agency structure. It had long relied on a roster of primarily boutique agencies, including PMH. Still, even with Wieden on board, PMH maintained responsibility for much of the retailer's style and design-focused marketing. Now that business will be consolidated with Wieden & Kennedy.

"As the Target brand continues to evolve, so do our agency partnerships," a Target spokeswoman said. "We have worked with Peterson Milla Hooks and Wieden & Kennedy on much of our brand and design campaigns for several years. Target is evolving our relationship with our lead agency, Wieden & Kennedy, to include more of our style and design work."

The announcement comes as PMH won Kmart's apparel and home business earlier this week. Tom Nowak, agency director for PMH, said the Kmart win is "gigantic" for the agency. It's a time of significant change for the 50-person shop, he added. In recent months, PMH has also picked up Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, OshKosh B'Gosh and Gap's Athleta brand.

"For us, we've always been happy to be pretty anonymous," said Mr. Nowak. "We haven't done press. We don't enter awards shows much. We haven't really pitched, because we've had so much Target to do. And, frankly, we've been running as fast as we can to keep up with Target , and that 's been terribly fulfilling. But now we need to get our story out a little bit more and start to look at new business a bit more."

Mr. Nowak said the Kmart pitch was the first time the agency had worked with a search consultant. But now he expects PMH will be more aggressive in going after new business. "If that means winning something and having to scale up, that 's fine," he said.

PMH began working with Target in the 1990s, first on print ads. But in 1999 Dave Peterson, creative director and founder of Peterson Milla Hooks, was charged with coming up with a branding campaign that would define the retailer's DNA. He decided to focus on Target 's simple red logo. "It was fun, designery and fashioney," he told Ad Age in 2000. "It was a byproduct of the times we are living in."

The resulting 1999 spots featured "Bull's-Eye World," a funky place where cheerful blondes served up red target -shaped Jell-O molds and grooved to Petula Clark's "Sign of the Times" in a room papered with Target logos. The campaign established the bull's-eye as an advertising icon and further honed Target 's position as the purveyor of cheap-chic. It also earned Target a nod as Advertising Age's Marketer of the Year in 2000.

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