Macy's picks Publicis Groupe solution for $400M U.S. media account

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Macy's, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Macy's, Rancho Cucamonga, CA Credit: Macy's

Publicis Groupe's "Power of One" strategy has notched another victory: Macy's mammoth media account in the U.S. A new dedicated team including Digitas and Spark Foundry will handle the retailer's media work.

"Macy's has appointed Spark Foundry, a division of Publicis Groupe, as its media strategy and buying agency following a closed review," Macy's said in a statement. Publicis Media's Digitas will also be working with the retailer.

"Spark Foundry and Digitas are excited to harness the Power of One solution, leveraging on the best capabilities from each of our agencies to directly serve Macy's storied retail brand," said Spark Foundry Global President Chris Boothe. "Together, our agencies are committed to delivering effective, data-driven solutions that will drive Macy's business forward."

The incumbent on the account is Dentsu Aegis Network's Carat. Macy's had selected Carat following a 2012 review.

"Digitas and Spark Foundry are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Macy's, an iconic American brand and one of the nation's premier retailers," said Digitas Global Brand President Michael Kahn. "We're proud to harness the Power of One, leveraging the best-in-class media talent from Digitas and Spark Foundry to a brand with such a strong tradition of innovation and firsts."

In March, Marriott selected a Publicis Groupe team called "Marriott One Media," which includes its SapientRazorfish and Spark Foundry, to handle its global media business, overseeing all media planning and buying. The holding company's "Power of One" model, which brings together bringing together agencies and services from across the holding company.

In 2017, Macy's spent $415.4 million on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

After years of struggle in its department store category, Macy's has been proving recently that it is far from down for the count. The 160-year-old chain announced last month that it acquired Story, the New York City-based concept shop that rotates its brands and offerings, and made Story Founder Rachel Shechtman the department store's brand experience officer. Many retail experts viewed the moves as positive in helping to innovate the venerable chain and improve customer experience at brick-and-mortar locations.

Indeed, earlier this month, Macy's reported a 3.9 percent rise in comparable store sales; net sales for the period were $5.5 billion, a 3.6 percent increase over the year-earlier period, while net income was $139 million.

Analysts were heartened. "Macy's achieved an encouraging beat," wrote Oliver Chen, a retail analyst with Cowen & Co.

On an earnings call, the brand's Chief Executive Jeff Gennette noted that Macy's is working hard to improve its nearly 700-store fleet by piloting new promotions, localized marketing and "hyper-curated assortments" in 50 locations.

Last year, Macy's appointed BBDO New York its creative agency. Under the leadership of Chief Marketing Officer Rich Lennox, the chain spent last fall and winter upgrading its marketing strategy to one with more fashion and targeted messaging. In October, it rolled out a new loyalty program that executives said has been promising.

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