Harman Taps TBWA\Chiat\Day

Upscale audio component maker Harman International has chosen TBWA\Chiat\Day to create advertising for Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL and all its other brands, the agency said.

The 50-year-old Washington D.C.-based client, which has an office in Northridge, Calif., has used TBWA\C\D for projects related to its Harman Multimedia line. The firm has also used a number of small shops for projects involving its other consumer and pro lines.

OMD has landed media planning and buying. Sources said spending is expected to be about $15 million.

Robert LePlae, president of TBWA\C\D here, said the decision to consolidate the account was made by company founder Dr. Sidney Harman. “We met about six months ago and [discussed] how we could work together more closely. This company has some truly outstanding products,” said LePlae.

Agency executive creative director Rob Schwartz said that the audio company has succeeded by focusing primarily on product development. “They have brilliant products and our job is to create equally brilliant merchandising for them,” said Schwartz. “This will also give me a chance to upgrade my home audio system.”

The decision to step up its marketing efforts comes at a time when the client’s sales have grown on the strength of car audio products carrying the Harman Kardon label. In 2002, total sales were $1.8 billion, up from $1.7 billion a year earlier.

The client could not be reached for comment.