Eaton’s prepares to be exhumed

It's been two weeks since Sears Canada split its advertising creative account between incumbent Ammirati Puris and TBWA Chiat/Day, but the retailer has still not decided which agency will be handed the task of breathing new life into the once-venerable Eaton's...

It’s been two weeks since Sears Canada split its advertising creative account between incumbent Ammirati Puris and TBWA Chiat/Day, but the retailer has still not decided which agency will be handed the task of breathing new life into the once-venerable Eaton’s brand.

Originally, Sears said it planned to award its retail branding assignment to one agency, and have another shop work on both the Sears Whole Home business and the Eaton’s banner. But that thinking changed during the review process after agencies presented Sears with some different ideas for divvying up the business.

‘We’re rethinking a couple of things,’ says Nina MacLaverty, Sears’ vice-president of retail advertising. ‘The (shortlisted agencies) have given us some food for thought on not only who does what, but how to bundle it.’

Regardless of which agency inherits the Eaton’s business, one thing is clear: The banner will be abandoning its most recent positioning strategy – chic fashion items for the younger set – and moving back to its roots.

Paul Walters, CEO of Sears Canada, has said in published reports that the company’s six Eaton’s locations will return to selling hard goods like appliances and electronics and that its fashion offerings will be positioned somewhere between the everyday assortment at Sears and the upscale selection at Holt Renfrew.

Communicating the new positioning to consumers will pose a significant challenge, however, since many of Eaton’s previously loyal customers may already feel too alienated by events of the recent past to rekindle their affinity for the brand.

‘They’ve got to get it right, first off the bat,’ says Richard Talbot, an analyst at Unionville, Ont.-based Talbot Consultants. ‘There’s got to be a ‘wow’ factor when people walk into the store to restore instant credibility.’

Because Sears is only operating six Eaton’s stores, each of which is located in a different urban market, Talbot says the store’s new handlers will have to stop marketing it as a conventional retail brand.

‘I think what they have to do is define who their target customers are in the specific markets they’re in,’ he says. ‘Each of the different markets has different ethnic mixes, different incomes, and different needs. It’s that kind of independent focus, rather than a chain focus that [they need].’

MacLaverty would not comment on when a new campaign to promote Eaton’s repositioning will break, although most observers figure it will appear in late summer, in time for back-to-school shopping.

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.