HHGregg ditches ad campaign, returns to former agency

HHGregg Inc. once again is changing promotional strategies, moving its business back to Zimmerman Advertising.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Zimmerman said Wednesday that HHGregg has returned to the ad agency. The move comes about a year after HHGregg ditched Zimmerman for Chicago-based Leo Burnett and Spark. The Indianapolis-based appliance, electronics and furniture chain had worked with Zimmerman since 2007.

“HHGregg was, is, and will always be family to us,” said Cliff Courtney, Zimmerman’s chief marketing officer, in a prepared statement. “Our team has already kicked into gear and we’re not taking our foot off the accelerator.”

The change comes just two months after HHGregg unveiled a new marketing campaign in an effort to boost sales at slumping stores.

The wide-ranging campaign, part of what the retailer billed as a brand transformation, included a new company logo and television commercials, in addition to an improved website and more services offered to customers who purchase big-ticket items from an HHGregg store.

Its advertising spots, dubbed “fill your home with happy,” highlighted the joy a new television or appliance brings to a household. That was a shift from HHGregg’s last marketing campaign, which focused more on the challenges of choosing the right product as the Beatles song “Help” played in the background. Zimmerman and HHGregg launched the campaign in May 2011.

With the move back to Zimmerman, HHGregg has decided to shift its marketing focus from brand-building back to retail promotion, according to a report in the trade publication Adweek. HHGregg officials did not immediately respond to inquires from IBJ on Wednesday afternoon.

Prior to Zimmerman, HHGregg's advertising had been handled for 24 years by Indianapolis-based Pearson Partners Inc. The firm took a huge blow in 2007 when it lost the HHGregg account to Zimmerman, losing 15 of 44 employees as a result. Pearson went out of business in 2010.

HHGregg has 229 stores in 20 states, mostly in the Midwest and Southeast.

Company shares were trading at $9.20 each in late-morning trading, off significantly from their 52-week high of $20.75.

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