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Samsonite Corp. plans to break its first global campaign this summer, after ending a two-month review that included five agencies on two continents.

The $30 million account will be handled by TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., and TBWA Campaign Co., Amsterdam (AA, Feb. 17).

"Speaking with one voice is the best way to build brand equity," said Cameron Schmidt, Samsonite marketing director. "We want to take what is the leading brand in the category worldwide and make it great via a new impactful campaign."


Previously, Samsonite spent $15 million annually on advertising and used Leo Burnett Co. for its primary U.S. and European markets; the marketer's developing business in Asia and Latin America received no ad support.

Also pitching for the new global account were Burnett, in Chicago and Frankfurt; McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York and London; J. Walter Thompson Co., New York and London; and DDB Needham Worldwide, New York and Paris.

Each agency picked its best office in Europe and the U.S. to showcase the shop's global capabilities and creative styles, said Paul Peeters, communication manager at Samsonite Europe.

"TBWA demonstrated their global competency. They were a standout," said Mr. Schmidt, a former skincare marketer at Warner-Lambert Co. who joined Samsonite in November, just in time to orchestrate the agency review.

"We looked for a creative idea that travels well," said Bob Kuperman, president and CEO-North America for TBWA Chiat/Day. "Our Amsterdam team came to Venice for three days in December and again for five days in January to discuss everything from overall strategies to graphics and type styles. There was a lot of give and take because of the different styles of advertising from our U.S. and Amsterdam offices."


The global charge at Samsonite is being led by new CEO Richard Nicolosi, who joined the company last September following stints at Scott Paper Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

The agency review was part of a broader management overhaul that includes a restructuring of manufacturing, procurement, sales and marketing.

In the past decade, Samsonite has suffered through a series of reorganizations, buyouts and even bankruptcy, from which it emerged in 1995 when Astrum International Corp. spun the company off and renamed it Samsonite.

A new management team led by Mr. Nicolosi is now touting Samsonite as the "business Cinderella success story of the 1990s." Wall Street seems to agree, and Samsonite stock has been rising steadily.

To live up to those expectations, plans are under way to launch a series of more technologically advanced luggage products. The first of the new products, EZ-Cart, was introduced last fall with Burnett-created ads that featured an upright bag with a built-in handle and four wheels with ball bearings.

Plans are to support all three of the company's lines-Samsonite, American Tourister and Lark-in the new global advertising.

For TBWA, winning the Samsonite account was a homecoming. Samsonite was a founding client when TBWA started in 1970.

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