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.”

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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.