The print campaign, handled by London design house Spin, centers on the word "art," with minimal ad copy for easy adaptation by Christie's 112 offices in 37 countries.
"The word `Christie's' isn't easily understood in many markets, but art is a global concept," said Meredith Etherington-Smith, group marketing and advertising director for Christie's in London. "We want people to just look at the ads and instantly understand what they mean, like the Coca-Cola logo is immediately recognized worldwide.
"With Christie's image consistent internationally, we can make a much stronger impact globally," Ms. Etherington-Smith said.
The word "art" appears in the ads in large, brightly colored type alongside images of artwork, furniture and jewelry that will be sold at Christie's spring and fall auctions. Sale locations and times, previously the focus of ads, appear in small type.
"We've designed the ads to be clean and stylish so that they stand out in a magazine environment that can be quite busy and chaotic," said Patricia Finnegan, partner at Spin. She noted that the ads are also designed to update Christie's "old-fashioned, classical image" and attract a younger group of buyers.
Page and spread ads appear in October issues of Architectural Digest, Town & Country, Vanity Fair, W and Worth, and upscale international publications and art magazines worldwide.
"We've realized that our clients are global people, who for instance, may be living in Asia but are buying in New York," said Ms. Etherington-Smith. "Some of them speak English as a second language and some don't speak English at all, so we needed a campaign that could be easily understood in all of our markets."
Asia, in particular, is proving a fast-growing international market for Christie's, with auction sales there up 19% last year. Christie's recently expanded its network with representatives in Beijing, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
Christie's, with London-based SmartNet, also recently redesigned its Web site to reach out to an international clientele. Some areas of the site are available in Japanese and Chinese, as well as English.