Seiko, one of the biggest advertisers in its category, last week sent questionnaires to about a dozen New York shops including Ammirati & Puris; Avrett, Free & Ginsberg; DDB Needham; Dentsu America; Hal Riney & Partners; McCann-Erickson; and Messner Vetere McNamee Berger Schmetterer. AC&R has been asked to participate and has a bye into the short-list round, according to the client.
Jonathan Nettelfield, Seiko's vp-advertising said the review was prompted mainly by marketplace conditions that present both challenges and opportunities.
"We are at a crossroads. There is a window of opportunity that we intend to maximize and this is the time," said Nettelfield. "The kind of marketing that we've used to build the brand, really has to adapt."
Seiko, which introduced the first quartz watch, long promoted itself as a technological innovator with ad lines like, "Some day all watches will be made this way" and most recently, "The future of time."
But now that other watch makers have caught up, Seiko needs to put forth a new face.
Seiko by July 7 will review information sent in by the 12 agencies and then select 10 shops that it will meet with. Nettelfield stressed that AC&R will be competing on a level playing field. "They have 25 years experience. . .If it's not an inside track, it's a straight track," he said.
Rumors about Seiko finally prying loose from AC&R first kicked up in March when Kazuo Kudo, a vice chairman at AC&R, left to become the No. 2 executive at Dentsu America. In recent weeks, sources said AC&R's creative team on the account--copywriter Nancy Tag and art director John Martinez--have also jumped ship from AC&R and are joining Dentsu.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)