LENOX 'CELEBRATES' WITH $10 MIL AD CAMPAIGN: NEW SHOP DE PLANO AIMS BRANDING EFFORT AT CREATING 'EMOTIONAL LINK'

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To polish the image of its fine china and delicate crystal, Lenox Brands has turned to the agency that repositioned Beretta firearms.

Lenox this month tapped de Plano Group, New York, to handle its $10 million account.

De Plano has done successful repositionings for products as disparate as Mikimoto pearls, Bulgari jewels and Beretta, said Herman Castaneda, creative director, by giving a fresh face to an old brand without losing its current customers. The challenge is similar for Lenox.

"It's a dusty, sleepy, tired category that hasn't done anything creative," said Marco de Plano, president of the agency, which won the business after Lenox parted with Grey Advertising, New York. "The category hasn't done anything to brand itself."

In fact, research conducted by Lenox -- maker of silver, china and glassware under well-known brands such as Lenox, Dansk and Gorham -- found that 55% of consumers could not name a marketer of tableware on their own, and 69% couldn't name a gift products company.

FOR ALL OCCASIONS

The campaign's goal, therefore, is to firmly establish Lenox as a giftware company and promote the idea of giving and using china and crystal for all occasions, said Mr. de Plano.

But it also aims to shake up the category's image as well, ditching the conventional, cataloglike shots commonly used in advertising for a creative direction aimed at building an emotional link with the brand, said Mr. Castaneda.

The resulting effort combines a scene of a celebration -- such as a bridal shower or birthday -- with its reflection on a tabletop.

The campaign is tagged "Gifts that celebrate life."

"We're fulfilling the idea that the customer wants to see the product, but also the occasion," said Mr. Castaneda. "It's a twist on something that could have been straightforward."

The ads will run in November issues of bridal magazines including Bride's and Bridal Guide and lifestyle publications including B. Smith Style and Martha Stewart Living, as well as other consumer books.

The de Plano shop also redesigned Lenox's packaging, in-store displays and Web site, www.lenox.com.

The campaign includes in-store promotions featuring TV personalities Kathie Lee

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