Will JC Penney’s new boss Michael Francis be calling Target-less Wieden+Kennedy?

It’s all change in US retailing at the moment: in between Christmas and New Year JC Penney’s new president Michael Francis dumped Saatchi & Saatchi from its $1.25bn account, citing an apparent preference for using a bigger roster of smaller agencies including Peterson Milla Hooks.

Now Target, the number two US discounter behind Walmart and former home to Francis (pictured), has split with Wieden+Kennedy Portland, lead agency on its $650m account. And it all seems very civilised. 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, and will leverage both our internal expertise and our strong roster of agency partners to help accomplish our marketing goals in 2012 and beyond.”

And W+K Portland’s ECD Susan Hoffman adds: “It was a great creative opportunity to work with such an iconic brand. We love the pace and the dynamics of working in the retail space.”

So is it likely that W+K will shortly be back in the retail space courtesy of its old Target client Michael Francis, now ensconced at JC Penney? If so it rather looks like the stuff about preferring with work with a roster of agencies rather than a lead creative shop was just a cover story to dump Saatchi.

And how would Peterson Milla Hooks, which used to work for Target before W+K came on the scene, feel about a reappearance from the Portlanders?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.