Eisner Extends Lenox’s Reach

Eisner Communications has launched advertising for china and giftware maker Lenox that takes the client beyond its traditional bridal print media.

The new work, carrying the 3-year-old “Gifts that celebrate life” tag, will appear in food and lifestyle publications such as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Elle Décor and Oprah, among other magazines.

Campaign spending will total $25 million, sources said. Lenox spent $37 million on ads in 2001, per CMR.

The effort extends the company’s presence beyond the $19 billion bridal market into the $55 billion general-gift market, according to Eisner representative Abe Novick.

The Baltimore agency won the positioning assignment after a courtship that began in January and ended in a quiet review that pitted Eisner against The Harrington Group, Morristown, N.J.; Gianet-tino & Meredith, Short Hills, N.J.; and Badalato-Ginsberg, New York, earlier this summer. The De Plano Group, the New York incumbent, did not participate.

Officials from the Lawrenceville, N.J.-based client invited the agency pitch teams to watch as two focus groups pored over creative work from the three finalists.

“The groups [19-24 years old and 35+] discussed how they felt about gift giving and about the Lenox brand,” said agency executive creative director Steve Etzine. “Anything that deviates from the Lenox voice was a sacrilege.”

Surprisingly, the younger focus group felt it was not necessary to introduce an edgier voice, said Etzine. “They wanted to honor the values [Lenox] stood for,” he said.

Jim Erickson’s black-and-white photography was tinted with “Len-ox ivory” to give the print ads a look that resembles the brand’s simple patterns. Color appears in tiny details that include a gold ribbon that “gift wraps” the ads and a red berry decoration.

Body copy, in cursive script, is limited to a small gift card. In one Christmas ad promoting gifts, the message reads, “Because it wouldn’t be a holiday without her … Because she’s what you’ve prayed for, and what you’re thankful for … Because Lenox celebrates life.”

“We also used real people caught in accidental moments,” said Etzine, who served as copywriter on the campaign. “There’s an allusion to something that might have gone wrong, but didn’t. We acknowledge the negatives in life.”

Lenox vice president of brand development Peter Cobuzzi called the work strategically on target.