Giant Bicycle Hires Seattle Shop To Target Wider Customer Base

By Angela Dawson

LOS ANGELES–Giant Bicycle has hired Hammerquist & Saffel as its agency after a review of West Coast shops.

The Seattle agency prevailed over finalist dGWB in Irvine, Calif., according to sources.

The account, with annual billings of about $2-3 million a year, previously was handled by Bozell Worldwide in Costa Mesa, Calif. The incumbent did not defend the business.

The company sought an agency to boost its brand in a variety of ways, through ads, catalogs,

merchandising and promotional and in-store materials.

‘We were looking for (an agency) with an integrated marketing approach,’ said Jim Simmons, who took over as Giant’s director of marketing last summer. ‘We selected Hammerquist & Saffel because of their client roster, their business philosophy and mission.’

The Seattle-based agency has several sports and recreation-oriented clients including K2’s Telemark ski line, Callaway Golf apparel and the Mission Ridge Ski Area.

The bicycle company wants to reach beyond hard-core cyclists, Simmons said, noting that Giant is aiming to target consumers that the industry has ignored. ‘The industry has perpetuated the image of a twentysomething downhill (bicyclist), but that’s touching only a small segment of the market,’ he said. ‘Our objective is to give a personality to the Giant brand and focus on marketing products to the general bike user.’

Two consumer segments the bike industry overlooks are women and children, Simmons said. Before advertising is created, however, the company first has to convince retailers to embrace that broader consumer market, he said.

‘Jim (Simmons) knows what needs to be done in this market to be successful,’ said the agency’s chairman and creative director, Hugh Saffel. ‘He just needed the right partner to help him get there. From our very first conversation, we felt that we shared a very similar vision as to what Giant’s goals and potential can be.’

The Rancho Dominguez, Calif.-based company plans to introduce about 10 new bike models for adults and children over the next 90 days. Hammerquist & Saffel will provide support materials and public relations for a June launch of a children’s line, said Scot French, the agency’s director of client services. Consumer and trade ads will follow in August and September.

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