Tennis star takes time out to pitch Constellation line

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Omega has signed the tennis world's alpha female, Anna Kournikova, as spokeswoman for a new line of women's watches.

The Swiss watchmaker will feature Ms. Kournikova in print ads and outdoor boards breaking next month. The $1 million campaign, created in-house, introduces the Constellation Carre line of gold watches with pastel-color satin bands.

Ms. Kournikova will appear in ads in the December issues of financial and lifestyle magazines including Esquire, Smart Money and Worth, and in outdoor ads in key U.S. cities. The campaign will kick off Nov. 20 with the unveiling of a billboard featuring the Russian tennis ace in New York's Times Square and a gala dinner introducing her as the new spokeswoman that evening.

The 19-year-old phenom was chosen for Omega's ads -- which have featured celebs such as Cindy Crawford and Pierce Brosnan in the past -- because of her fashionable image and athletic renown, said Raquel L. Schuttler, director of marketing.

"She's really everything tied into one package," Ms. Schuttler said. The other celebrity executions in the 5-year-old campaign promote other Omega lines and will continue running along with the new ads.


Omega has increased its U.S. advertising spending "extensively" over the last four years, said Margie Carrasquillo Cooper, VP-media director of Katz, Dochterman & Epstein, New York, Omega's agency. Currently, Omega spends approximately $3 million in the U.S.

The Swiss watchmaker wants to mine the healthy economy and increased consumer spending in luxury goods, as well as women's increased spending on watches, Ms. Schuttler said. She noted research done by women's magazines and watchmakers has found women increasingly are buying watches for themselves instead of purchasing them as gifts for others.


Watchmakers also see potential in expanding the market. A 1999 Gallup poll found only 51% of U.S. consumers owned two or more watches, leaving nearly half the U.S. public with one timepiece or with none at all.

Movado Group drafted agency AG, New York, to launch new campaigns last year for its ESQ and Concord brands, while Tag Heuer and Patek Phillipe each launched new lines and advertising efforts to appeal to women, who make up the majority of watch-shoppers. Citizen Watch Co. of America and Seiko Corp. of America each followed with new campaigns this fall to promote watches as fashionable accessories. Citizen introduced its Eco Drive collection, a line of solar-power watches, with a $4 million print campaign from new agency Publicis, New York; Seiko launched a fashion-oriented campaign from the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. in October magazines (AA, Sept. 11).

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