Macy's Selects New Creative Agencies

JWT Loses Holiday Duties to Figliulo & Partners, BBH New York

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Credit: Macy's

Before next Christmas, consumers will see fresh marketing creative from Macy's. J. Walter Thompson has lost holiday duties for the retailer to New York-based Figliulo & Partners and BBH New York. Macy's selcted the pair to handle holiday 2016 following a review.

The RFP process started last November, according to Macy's. The retailer had been working with JWT on a project basis, including on its holiday "Believe" campaign, which passed its eight-year mark this past holiday season. The agency is currently embroiled in a sexual harassment lawsuit with its former chief communications officer.

"We are always looking for new ideas and content to enhance our position as the holiday gift-giving destination and to celebrate our world beloved traditions like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," said Martine Reardon, outgoing chief marketing officer of Macy's, in a statement. "F&P and BBH have delivered some exciting and creative concepts that will further cement the magic of our fashion and entertainment brand with consumers." She noted that the holidays are an important timeframe for the retailer, which is at the height of its "brand connectivity with customers nationwide during the celebratory season."

A spokeswoman for Macy's did not specify which aspects of the campaign each agency will handle.

There are several changes afoot at Macy's of late. Ms. Reardon, who has been CMO of the storied 870-unit department store chain since 2012, announced earlier this year that she will be leaving her post. She's been with the company for more than three decades. Ms. Reardon's last day is May 13. Ms. Reardon had been responsible for celebrity-themed campaigns featuring the likes of Martha Stewart and Ryan Seacrest.

Three-year-old F&P was recently named the creative agency of record for Marriott's AC Hotels and also for egg brand Pete & Gerry's.

"Winning pitches feels great, but winning Macy's is a whole new ballgame," said Mark Figliulo, founder and chief executive of F&P, in a statement, adding that the brand is iconic. "We can't wait for Christmas this year."

BBH does work for such clients as Westin, Google and Netflix, according to its website. The agency also noted the iconic nature of the Macy's brand, in a statement. "When it comes to the holidays, no one owns the emotional space in our hearts like they do," said Ari Weiss, chief creative officer. "But their ambition goes well beyond their heritage and so does ours."

Indeed, the bulk of Macy's sales are generated during the crucial holiday season, and marketing dollars will need to count more than ever this year. The retailer, which spent $220.3 million on measured media in the U.S. in November and December of 2015, according to Kantar Media, suffered declines last year due to unseasonably warm weather and a fickle apparel consumer. For November and December of 2015, Macy's reported a same-store sales decline of nearly 5%.

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