'Time for a Change' Says Watch Marketer

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Saying "it's time for a change," a spokesman for Timex Corp. today confirmed the company was ending its 15-year-long relationship with Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis.

"We just are at a turning point in how we want to be seen," the spokesman told Adage.com. "We've always felt we've been an innovator in the industry. We've introduced a steady stream of improvements into the time-keeping and wrist instrument industry and we haven't necessarily been recognized for that."

Overlooked innovations
He pointed to the Indiglo watch introduced a decade ago as the beginning of the parade of overlooked innovations that also included the I-Control setting and the Ironman Speed+Distance System sportwatch that has a global-positioning technolgy to track speed, pace and distance. The Middlebury, Conn.-based company also wants to be more recognized for its more fashionable timepieces.

"Timex played such an important role in the development of our company; we literally grew up with them," Pat Fallon, chairman of Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, said in a statement. "We will always be grateful for the opportunity we've had to do standout work for such an iconic brand. We wish them every success in the future."

Preparing review
Since Timex is in the early stages of preparing to review its brand and marketing resources, the

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spokesman said it was premature to discuss how the marketer's plans may affect budgets. In 2001, Timex spent $5.8 million in measured media and through June of this year, it spent $2 million, according to estimates from Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Sloan Group, New York, handles youth marketing for Timex and could be included in the review for the general market business. Meanwhile, Fallon will finish out its contract through the end of the year. The company hasn't yet determined whether it will conduct its review internally or through a consultant.

"Clearly would be in our best interest to get through this as fast as possible," said the Timex representative, well aware of the important fourth-quarter timing of the decision. "We want to make sure we're finding the best possible partner. It's imperative to take the time to do it."