DDB Needham here topped a field of undisclosed contenders to land consumer and trade advertising duties for C3, developer of a proprietary diamond substitute called moissanite.
DDB officials confirmed the win last week. Billings were not disclosed, but sources said the Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based company is likely to spend $5-10 million initially to market the product.
"The C3 business is a great win for us," said Jim Ferguson, vice chairman and chief creative officer of DDB Needham Dallas. "It moves us into another category--fashion. It's also a beautiful product that will allow us to do fun advertising."
Ferguson said marketing plans are still being drawn up, but the thrust of the agency's creative work will likely be print executions in upscale magazines.
The agency will also handle trade work promoting the lab-created moissanite and a test instrument that helps distinguish it from diamonds.
DDB president Jake Schroepfer said without the testing equipment, moissanite is often mistaken for diamonds by jewelers.
C3's gems will be introduced in the first half of this year after the specifics of the production process are mapped out by Cree Research, C3's sole supplier of the silicon carbide crystals used to create the moissanite gem.
In a statement, C3 president Jeff Hunter said the company talked to several agencies around the country before making assignments. The identities of other contenders were not released.
In addition to DDB, C3 hired Richard French & Associates of Raleigh, N.C., and Lobsenz Stevens, New York, to assist with marketing activities. RF&A, which also has a New York office, works for companies including Wrangler, ITT Automotive and Lee Apparel.
Lobsenz Stevens specializes in public and investor relations. The 23-year-old company's clients include American Express, Pitney Bowes and Springs Industries.
Richard French & Associates will handle public relations and oversee C3's investor relations efforts. Lobsenz Stevens is developing an international investor relations program and will work closely with RF&A.