DDB Chicago Picks Up Kohler Creative

Campaign Expected to Start in First Quarter, Likely to Return to High-Fashion Aesthetic

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Omnicom Group's DDB Chicago has picked up the account for Kohler, the kitchen and bath equipment manufacturer, without a review.

The business had previously been with Havas's Arnold New York, which won the account in 2012, and Omnicom's GSD&M before that. New work for the brand is expected to arrive in the first quarter.

"We have chosen to partner with DDB because they have a proven reputation of delivering innovative and highly effective advertising," said Elizabeth Brady, senior VP-global brand management at Kohler, in a statement. "From the onset, DDB demonstrated a true passion and understanding of our mission to bring gracious living into all of our customer's homes."

Kohler was once known for its high-end imagery in its advertising, enlisting fashion photographers like David LaChappelle, but has been emphasizing function and family in recent work. Though exact details of the creative by DDB Chicago aren't yet known, the company is expected to make a return to a high-fashion aesthetic, according to people familiar with the matter. Executions will include TV spots and digital ads as well as appearances at Fashion Week and music festivals, events that may produce material for a branded content play.

"Kohler has a storied history of producing compelling advertising that showcases its products in beautiful and aspirational environments," said Paul Gunning, CEO of DDB Chicago, in a statement. "The company's acute sense of design and innovation is where we share a common perspective, which will go a long way toward us meeting our goals."

Though it is not a hefty measured-media ad spender, Kohler has been upping its investment in recent years. In 2013, it spent $34 million on U.S. measured media, up from $28.6 million in 2012 and $26.5 in 2011.

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