Swiss watchmaker calls time on agency of 23 years

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BRASSUS, Switzerland -- Luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet is to change its international agency for the first time in 23 years as it attempts to forge its reputation in new markets.

Geneva-based Bright Advertising - created last year from the former Bozell, Geneva and Heimann Communications, Geneva - is the loser in the final shoot-out that sees an $11 million budget assigned to Euro RSCG, Paris, following a pitch that earlier also included DDB, Paris, and Delaney Fletcher Bozell, London. Heimann Communications was the incumbent. No decision has been made on media buying, which was also with Bright Advertising.

The company, whose watch brands most famously include Royal Oak, has traditionally run print ads internationally across its main regions of Europe, South East Asia and Japan. Its next campaign will spread its image more globally, with the aim of pushing deeper into other regions such as the U.S., according to those close to the strategy. It will be a global campaign, with adaptations made locally.

The change of agency, driven by Audemars Piguet President Georges-Henri Melan with the board of directors, is expected to be announced within days.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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