17: Michael Francis

Published on .

Ad budget: $926 million

Agency roster: No agency of record but works with a variety of shops, especially Peterson Milla Hooks, Minneapolis.

Power play: Mr. Francis, 39, inherited the leading edge Target brand and continues to parlay its cheap chic branding power with fresh and kooky marketing.

Downside: Even the mighty Target is starting to feel the economic pinch, with sales at stores open for more than a year somewhat restrained. Wal-Mart Stores says it doesn't want to compete for Target's upscale clientele, yet the behemoth is going after Target's market by improving quality and selection in apparel and in other lines, as well as giving local managers the option of adding more upscale product in well-to-do communities.

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