Power Players, 2008: 16 - 20

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16 STEPHEN
QUINN
Photo: Rohanna Mertens
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
WAL-MART STORES
AD BUDGET:
$1.1 BILLION
AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Interpublic's Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
  • Publicis' MediaVest, New York
  • POWER PLAY:
    With the economy in shambles, it's Wal-Mart's time to shine. Under Stephen Quinn, the discount giant has reshaped and invested in its advertising -- and is weathering the consumer slowdown better than most. He's brought new sophistication to the 46-year-old brand. The price-slashing smiley face has taken a back seat to everyday families saving money so they can afford discretionary purchases. Wal-Mart is doing its best to capitalize on recent developments, pouring money into TV and circulars. Its ad budget has been rapidly rising this year, doubling in the first half.
    DOWNSIDE:
    It's unclear whether the new tagline "Save money. Live better" will resonate with consumers in prosperous times as well as it does in lean times.
    17 RICHARD
    GERSTEIN
    CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
    SEARS HOLDINGS CORP.
    AD BUDGET:
    $1.63 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Interpublic's DraftFCB, Chicago
  • WPP's Y&R, Bravo, Chicago
  • POWER PLAY:
    Richard Gerstein, Sears Holdings' newly minted CMO, presides over a $50 billion retail behemoth consisting of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Kmart. The classic brands are embracing digital marketing and integrated partnerships. This year, Sears launched an aggressive digital campaign for back-to-school, involving a slew of social-networking sites. Kmart has ramped up its movie tie-ins.
    DOWNSIDE:
    Sales at domestic Sears stores open at least a year declined 7% in the second quarter; Kmart same-store sales fell 6%. They could have an opportunity with value-conscious consumers if they can provide a reason to bypass Wal-Mart and Target. But absent a compelling reason, Sears and Kmart could become casualties of the economy.
    18 PETER
    SACHSE
    PRESIDENT-CORPORATE MARKETING
    MACY'S
    AD BUDGET:
    $1.39 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • WPP's JWT, Mediaedge:cia, New York
  • Vox Collective, New York
  • POWER PLAY:
    Macy's massive billion-dollar marketing budget and status as the country's largest department-store chain enable it to make major waves. The retailer has found success with celebrity marketing campaigns and plans to continue in that vein with a celeb-studded 150th-anniversary celebration this fall. The campaigns have served to remind shoppers of Macy's collaborations with the likes of Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson and Carlos Santana. Peter Sachse has said that collections featured in those commercials see an immediate sales uptick.
    DOWNSIDE:
    The downturn in the economy is hitting Macy's customers hard, as it has those of its competitors. Macy's sales have been trending down, with sales at stores open at least a year slipping 2% in the second quarter. The retailer continues to work out the kinks of the Federated/May merger, which was officially finalized in 2005. Earlier this year, Macy's announced its My Macy's localization initiative, aimed at better targeting marketing and merchandise to accommodate regional differences. Competitors are keeping a close eye on My Macy's and likely would look to emulate any success. Media companies, meanwhile, are watching for any shifts from Macy's much-trumpeted national advertising plans to more local initiatives.
    19 MARY
    DILLON
    Photo: Andreas Larsson
    GLOBAL CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
    MCDONALD'S CORP.
    AD BUDGET:
    $1.15 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Havas' Arnold Worldwide, MPG, Boston
  • Interpublic's IW Group, San Francisco
  • Omnicom's DDB, OMD, Chicago; Alma DDB, Coral Gables, Fla. (Omnicom owns 74%)
  • Publicis' Leo Burnett, Lapiz, Burrell (Publicis owns 49%), Chicago
  • Admerasia, New York
  • POWER PLAY:
    McDonald's and Mary Dillon, 47, stepped up to the plate this summer with an Olympic sponsorship themed "Bringing people together like never before." As part of the push, and a sign that digital promotions will become increasingly prominent, McDonald's launched "The Lost Ring," a virtual-reality game that drew in millions of gamers in 100 countries. In the U.S., Olympic promotions, including athletes on packaging, were thought to have boosted same-store sales. Globally, the company has also focused on adding "well-being" elements to Happy Meal promotions. McDonald's encourages kids to earn activity points on its website or pledge to help the environment, depending on the promotion.
    DOWNSIDE:
    Tremendous expectations. The fast feeder has bested the rest of the industry for much of the year, often steamrolling same-store-sales guidelines. By most accounts, McDonald's value messages make it well-positioned to weather the tough economy, but some analysts believe the continually impressive results aren't sustainable.
    20 MIKE
    BOYLSON
    CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
    J.C. PENNEY CO.
    AD BUDGET:
    $1.16 BILLION
    AGENCIES INCLUDE:
  • Omnicom's OMD, Chicago
  • Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
  • Avenue A/ Razorfish, Chicago
  • InterTrend Communications, Long Beach, Calif.
  • Vidal, New York
  • POWER PLAY:
    This year, J.C. Penney launched its largest-ever marketing campaign to herald the launch of American Living, a proprietary label created with Polo Ralph Lauren's Global Brand Concepts division. The brand has been highly visible in 2008; Mike Boylson put a chunk of his annual ad budget behind it. Mr. Boylson is also testing the waters with new marketing media, boosting the retailer's presence in cinemas and online. Gaming was a key component of Penney's back-to-school and back-to-college campaigns.
    DOWNSIDE:
    Trying to grow market share, J.C. Penney has been vocal about its intent to invest in marketing despite the tough economy. Still, like most other retailers, Penney is feeling the crunch as consumers pare back on purchases. During the second quarter, sales at stores open at least a year fell 4% vs. a year ago. It's also going to be a difficult holiday season, and the retailer will need to wow customers in order to stand out. Some analysts, meanwhile, have expressed skepticism about the success of the American Living line. But executives continue to call the brand a "billion-dollar idea," even as they iron out the wrinkles.
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