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Wieden+Kennedy JC Penney

Six years on, Target and Wieden split after marketing chief joins JC Penney


By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 6, 2012 | 2 min read

The world of advertising is used to surprising splits between client and agency. And in the US the news that top retailer Target and internationally acclaimed agency Wieden+ Kennedy are going their separate ways this week is one such story..

Target : surprising split

Shawn Gensch, VP marketing at Target, told Ad Age, "Target is proud of what we accomplished with the Wieden & Kennedy team during our six-year partnership. Looking forward, we are focused on continuing to identify fresh and innovative ways to tell Target's brand story."

Tom Blessington, a partner at Wieden, said, "It is never easy to part ways with a client.We are proud of our six-year history with Target and wish them the best."

The split is sudden and surprising considering the success of the partnership, said Ad Age.

In 2009, Wieden was named the retailer's lead agency without a review. That move was made at the direction of former Target marketing chief Michael Francis. It was seen as " the ultimate vote of confidence" in the agency, said Ad Age.

Francis is now president at JC Penney - which just split with agency of record Saatchi & Saatchi. (At least that's an opening for Wieden).

They had worked closely with Francis , and in his wake he is said to have left much debate over the marketing direction of the company.

In the absence of a CMO, VP Liz Elert has been "leading the charge", said Ad Age. Ms. Elert and Wieden are said to have butted heads, said the mag


It's not clear whether the retailer will seek a new lead agency .

Wieden+Kennedy JC Penney

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