Publicis to Lift Tumi’s Global Image

NEW YORK Luxury luggage manufacturer Tumi will ratchet up its international advertising after years of relying on direct marketing, word of mouth and retail locations overseas, said Susan Gianinno, chairman and CEO of Publicis North America.

Publicis and Publicis Dialog last week won the $10 million global creative account, the agency confirmed, after topping sibling agency Saatchi & Saatchi, independent M&C Saatchi and the incumbent, Interpublic Group’s Avrett Free Ginsberg, all in New York.

While Tumi spent about $2 million on ads last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, advertising outside of the U.S. has been scant, Gianinno said.

Since being acquired by London buyout specialist Doughty Hanson & Co. for $276 million, South Plainfield, N.J.-based Tumi is aiming to expand its reach.

“These new owners are trying to accelerate their growth,” Gianinno said. “What interests us is they have an incredible quality product and some very aggressive aspirations and growth prospects.”

Among those aspirations is further expansion into the fashion accessories category, Gianinno said. In addition to luggage, Tumi offers watches, umbrellas, wallets and key rings.

Gianinno compared her growing client to worldwide powerhouse Starbucks because both companies were started by “creative entrepreneurial thinkers” and have passionate followings.

“Just like Starbucks, we never want the Tumi experience to lose its cachet,” she said.

Publicis will furnish Tumi with a wide variety of services including interactive and print advertising, event sponsorship, direct marketing and point-of-sale materials, Gianinno said. She did not know when the agency’s first work would appear.