Signet Jewelers polishes up its agency roster

Marketer is now working with MediaCom, Zimmerman and Badger & Winters

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Pedestrians pass in front of a Zales Jewelers store, a subsidiary of Signet Jewelers Ltd., in New York,
Pedestrians pass in front of a Zales Jewelers store, a subsidiary of Signet Jewelers Ltd., in New York, Credit: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Signet Jewelers has lined up some new agencies to bring in the bling.

The retailer said Tuesday it has tapped WPP's MediaCom for media buying and planning for its Kay, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales and Piercing Pagoda brands in the U.S. At the same time, Signet appointed Zimmerman as its creative and strategic agency for Kay; and tapped Badger & Winters as its agency-of-record for Zales. The marketer said the appointments are part of its "Path to Brilliance" transformation plan to make it more customer-first, omni-channel, agile and efficient.

Omnicom's OMD and Publicis Media's Digitas previously handled media for the 3,500-store chain.

Badger & Winters' President Jim Winters said the agency will focus on changing the way the brand and the jewelry category speak to women. The shop, which earned its stripes with the "Women Not Objects" campaign a few years ago, said in November it had become part of Plan A, a new holding company owned by former Droga5 exec Andrew Essex and Naked Communications co-founder MT Carney.

In mid-January, Signet agreed to pay an $11 million penalty for allegedly opening store card accounts without customer consent. Signet's share price fell as much as 23 percent last month — its lowest point since 2009 — after reporting a same-store sales drop of 1.3 percent during the crucial holiday period.

Legacy jewelers have struggled in recent years to attract modern millennials used to shopping online. Companies including Signet's brands and Tiffany & Co. are also competing with direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands such as Ontario-based Mejuri which promote lower prices after promising to remove the middleman from sourcing. Tiffany has focused on more youth-friendly marketing with campaigns starring the fresh-faced likes of Zoe Kravitz and Elle Fanning, while diamond seller De Beers has said it is spending more on marketing.

Two years ago, Signet acquired online jewelry brand James Allen for $328 million in order to better serve digital shoppers.

Jared The Gallery of Jewelry has also gotten a recent update. The brand worked with its agency McKinney on a more modern tagline, retiring the dusty "He went to Jared" message last year and pushing its holiday campaign "Dare to be Devoted." The client said it will continue to partner with McKinney on Jared.

Signet Group spent an estimated $245.6 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2017, according to Kantar Media.

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