Essilor Focuses on Lehman

Essilor of America has awarded its consolidated business-to-business advertising account to Lehman Millet.

Spending was not disclosed but is believed to be at least $10 million.

The win gives Lehman Millet, Boston, which specializes in medical accounts, a new national showcase and becomes one of the agency’s largest pieces of business.

Essilor, Dallas, markets Varilux, Crizal and Airwear brand optical lenses to eyecare professionals, optical laboratories and consumers. The client originally examined 16 shops, said agency president Bruce Lehman.

The business won by Lehman Millet had been split between Dorland Sweeney Jones, Philadelphia, which is believed to have participated in the review process, and Adair Greene, Atlanta, which did not pitch. Officials with those shops could not be reached by press time.

DDB Dallas will continue to handle consumer advertising for Essilor, a subsidiary of publicly held Essilor International, Paris.

Lehman Millet is charged with supporting Essilor through branding and promotional efforts, including print advertising, Internet strategy, medical education and professional relations, and direct marketing. Lehman Millet will also handle media buying chores. The account is being managed by vice president of brand management Jack Curran.

While Essilor previously used roughly half a dozen taglines, Lehman Millet, during the pitch, suggested a single new positioning line which is going into testing, Lehman said.

Ads are expected to break in the first quarter of 2001.

“The No. 1 challenge or opportunity they have is to continue to maintain their leadership position,” particularly in the bifocal category, Leh-man said. The ability to retain market share may be made more difficult as Essilor’s competitors see opportunities for growth by targeting baby-boomers, he added.