Barber Martin Becomes Engaged

Friedman’s Jewelers has named Barber Martin its creative agency.

The Richmond, Va., shop topped FKQ Advertising in Clearwater, Fla., and two undisclosed agencies in Tennessee and California in a three-month review to win the estimated $15 million account.

“We were looking for an agency to develop a comprehensive advertising strategy that balances the branding and the promotional elements of our messages,” said George Moser, vice president of marketing for the 650-store chain.

Key to Barber Martin’s victory was a detailed consumer analysis that included the Savannah, Ga., retailer’s customers as well as its primary competitors, Zale’s, headquartered in Irving, Texas, and Akron, Ohio-based Kay Jewelers.

Contenders for the business were not asked to produce spec creative work.

“Instead of us walking in like the know-it-all agency, we asked the target audience to evaluate the advertising,” said Barber Martin president Don Morgan. “We went down there and convinced the client we understood the target audience better than the other guys did.”

One of the insights the research revealed among consumers who were not Friedman’s customers was that they favored Kay’s emotion-driven campaign (“Every kiss begins with Kay”), an approach which may be reflected in Barber Martin’s upcoming television, print and point-of-purchase advertising.

The agency will handle creative and strategic planning duties. Media responsibilities remain at Atlanta’s Media Solutions.

Barber Martin’s first work will break this fall in time for the year-end holiday shopping season, what Morgan called the “Super Bowl of the jewelry business.” The other two prime purchasing periods in the industry are Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

“We’ve got time to research the market thoroughly,” said Morgan. “We will identify the target demographic, understand the segmentation of the marketplace and then develop our stories.”