Sears Holdings Retains MPG for Media After Long Review

Retailer Ranks Among Top 20 Ad Spenders Nationally

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Sears Holdings has retained Havas' MPG as its lead media agency following a review, the retail giant told Ad Age .

The decision follows a pitch that began early this summer. It means that Sears Holdings--one of the biggest national marketers in terms of ad spending--will extend its relationship with MPG, which it has worked with since 2007. It also means that MPG will retain one of its most important accounts, which includes the Kmart and Sears brands.

The Ad Age DataCenter places Sears Holdings among the top 20 ad spenders in the U.S. The company spent $1.69 billion on U.S. advertising in 2011. Of that amount, it spent $677 million on measured media.

Sears representatives did not elaborate on the reasons it kept MPG as its agency -- an unusual move for marketers that host a pitch. MPG referred a request for comment on the matter to the client.

In August, Ad Age reported that the firm promoted Chicago-based Lori Hiltz as the first official North American CEO installed since Shaun Holliday departed in 2010. While Global CEO Maria Luisa Francoli Plaza would not comment on the status of the review at the time, she said, "Sears is one of our top clients. The success we've been able to develop with this client is a testament of [Ms. Hiltz's] capability and professionalism. I think [the client] would be proud to have their account lead overseeing the entire company."

Perhaps the move helped. The agency is retaining a massive piece of business from a company that 's not afraid to ditch incumbents. Just a year ago, Sears named Dentsu's McGarryBowen its new advertising AOR and parted ways with incumbent Y&R, a unit of WPP. Publicis' Digitas, which won the digital-media business in 2011, has also since ended its relationship with the company.

Kmart works with Interpublic Group of Cos.'s DraftFCB.

Sears Holdings reported a loss of $132 million during the second quarter, with sales falling $671 million. Domestic same-store sales fell 3.7%. The retailer will report third-quarter results Nov. 15.


Contributing: Natalie Zmuda

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