The Book That Cluetrainers Love To Hate Just Landed Saatchi A Fat Account

Lovemarks, the book by Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts that was thoroughly ridiculed in the bloatosphere, is now responsible for landing Saatchi the J.C. Penny account, a $430 million piece of business.
Here’s what Ad Age indicates:

Love was in the air this spring for Kevin Roberts and JC Penney. It all began aboard a corporate jet early in the season when Penney Chief Marketing Officer Mike Boylson heard about his boss’s new crush, Saatchi & Saatchi chief Kevin Roberts, a silver-tongued New Zealander whom Penney CEO Myron “Mike” Ullman had seen speak at a conference.
On a cocktail napkin, Mr. Ullman sketched out the axis of love and respect — Mr. Roberts’ way of understanding how consumers relate to brands, as articulated in his 2004 book “Lovemarks.” A “love-mark” — an Apple or a Nike — occupies the upper-right quadrant where it gets high degrees of both love and respect.
“He gave me a copy of the book and said that it was worth looking into and that JC Penney needed to be a love mark with middle America,” Mr. Boylson said in an interview just one day after the fast-blooming romance was consummated Aug. 31 with Penney’s decision to move it’s $430 million creative account to Saatchi.

Hugh MacLeod, one of the louder doubters had this to say two falls ago, “The reason I don’t buy it is simple: Lovemarks is just a sweetened, cutey-pie metaphor to justify his company’s and industry’s behavior. But the basic behavior, the basic biz model remains fundementally unchanged.”

About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • Nancy

    while i understand Mr. MacLeod’s cravings to shake up the world, I also see Mr. Saatchi’s point.
    I have looked inside both of their manifestos, but not deeply. One of Hugh’s first statements was something like~ don’t let people tell you what to do or something like that, my memory’s not too sharp this morning. So what i did, was not read any further on his. Saatchi’s book had lots of pretty pictures and typography, if i recall. Closed.
    I am going to sound like someone telling two twisted stories, but so is it. I can’t stand thinking that I am love with objects and corporations manipulating me with such. I like things but they aren’t going to turn into lovemarks. But the fact of the matter, Hugh, is that they are metaphors and do. And that isn’t always a bad thing.
    I tried to make a presentation of my world over the weekend partly with a social commentary to forget all this worldliness of brands and objects, and concentrate on the things that matter. But, dang, if my lovemarks didn’t come through. I couldn’t stop it. Thing is, these objects are tagged with generations of love –grandparents to grandchildren– in my middle America family. Even when, or ESPECIALLY when , we are spread out over this entire globe, be it in China, Europe, America, wherever.
    How can a car logo or a computer logo made by an industry that’s selling corporate goods mean love?
    IN the eyes of a sweet little boy, Hugh, in the eyes of a little boy.
    As much as I wish or don’t wish it so, THEY or IT CONNECTS.

  • Hugh MacLeod

    Gosh! A brand with high levels of love and respect is a good thing, after all! 😉

  • nancy

    ahh yes, good thing :: bad thing, just beware those sins of excess for the furies may exact revenge. And as a few Greeks may have suggested: it might be better to forego living than be contolled in this life by such another.
    Now perhaps a sip of that Greek drink that voids wrinkles…in time.