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.

Zulu grows its team and makes a slate of promotions

A director of interactive production for Zulubot is among dozens of new faces and roles at the agency, in response to recent wins.
Zulu Alpha Kilo_New Zuligans

Toronto indie shop Zulu Alpha Kilo had made several new hires and promotions on the heels of new business and also organic growth from existing clients.

Zulu could not officially announce the account wins at this time.

However, it can report that Ece Inan, most recently at Toronto design and tech shop Array of Stars, has been named the agency’s new director of interactive production for Zulubot, the agency’s production arm. In the new role, Inan will lead AR, VR, voice and other digital innovation projects.

Also on the production side, James Graham, who has spent the last 17 years with Grip, has joined the agency as its studio director.

Zulu has also made numerous additions on the client services side, led by Michael Brathwaite, also from Grip, as account director.

It’s also announced a spate of new account supervisors, including Hayley Blackmore (from G Adventures), Risa Kastelic (from BT/A), Kara Oddi (also from BT/A), Emily Anzarouth (also from Grip), Chris Rosario (from FCB/Six) and Sarah Shiff (from Rethink).

In addition to the new hires (pictured above), the agency has also announced several promotions: Alyssa Guttman moves from account director to group account director, while Nina Bhayana, Michelle Fournier, Jenn Gaidola-Sobral and Erin McManus have all been promoted to account director, and Haley Holm to account supervisor. On the strategy team, strategists Carly Miller and Spencer MacEachern have both been promoted to strategy director, while Shaunagh Farrelly, who has been with Zulu for two years in a client service role, moves into a new role as a digital strategist.

In December, the shop also announced that Stephanie Yung would be returning to the agency after a stint in New York as its head of design. Recent wins the agency has been able to announce including work as AOR for the Ottawa Senators, as well as a new arrangement with existing client Consonant Skincare, setting up an in-house team to support growth after taking an equity stake in the company.

Zulu president Mike Sutton says it’s wonderful, in a new year, to welcome new faces and energy to the team and says the agency is fortunate to have had so many people across the agency step up to support its clients.

“Simply put, they were rock stars, and the promotions are very well deserved,” Sutton says.