EXCLUSIVE: Former Hollywood agent John Fogelman just phoned to tell me that his FactoryMade Ventures and JC Penney are announcing a 3-year partnership on Friday. The retailer announced on Wednesday it is rebranding itself “jcpenney” and will have a new pricing strategy, corporate identity, new merchandise and updated stores by 2015. One of its brand partners will be Ellen DeGeneres. Penney wants Fogelman’s outfit to help “re-imagine innovative media and entertainment opportunities”.
This is the introduction that Fogelman’s former client/investor/partner J.J. Abrams set up before the TV producer/filmmaker decided he was too busy and exited those roles. Abrams is friends with ex-Target Chief Marketing Officer Michael Francis who recently joined forces with ex-Apple Retail stores guru Ron Johnson to reinvent J.C. Penney. “They want my company to help reimagine the bricks and mortar experience and online experience,” Fogelman told me. “Just the way that we helped reimagine Hasbro from a toy company into a media company.”
Fogelman, whose company also advises Telefonica, claims that under the 3-year partnership with JC Penney his firm will be paid an annual consultancy fee. Fogelman says another deal with a new client for a new venture announcing March 1 will be the biggest project yet for his firm. Fogelman, a former WME board member, Fogelman brought with him the entire WME skunkworks division in September 2011 to develop a hybrid entertainment and media business and consulting firm.
Fogelman’s is not the only marketing and branding firm hired by J.C. Penney for the transformation to work alongside the retailer’s in-house creative team and its other key agency partners. The retailer wants Factorymade Ventures to make J.C. Penney into America’s favorite store and develop new concepts to reinvent the shopping and customer experience for customers. As such, the partnership will explore the entertainment, media and multi-platform delivery and experiential landscape.
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