AGENCIES INCLUDE: Interpublic's Lowe and Initiative Media, N.Y.
POWER PLAY: The Federated/May merger put Macy's CMO Peter Sachse potentially in charge of a $1.2 billion media budget. So far, spending is inching out of print circulars and into a national broadcast branding campaign behind Macy's, soon to be the biggest and first national department store chain as Federated converts most of May's 484 stores to the Macy's banner. The end goal is clear: combine the collective heft of two big media budgets and back a single, unifying brand. The shift in media strategy will benefit network TV, and it will likely punish an already suffering newspaper sector.
DOWNSIDE: How will Midwesterners respond to the loss of the Marshall Field's store name? While some analysts applauded the move to a national brand, and it clearly bolsters the chain's chances of survival, some questioned whether a national branding campaign can infuse Macy's red star with the iconic stature of Target's red bull's-eye or Wal-Mart's smiley face. If shoppers have truly abandoned the traditional department store format, can an ad campaign really change that?