Swiss Army Brands Close to Decision

BOSTON Swiss Army Brands is close to concluding a review for its advertising account and could name an agency as soon as next week following final presentations, a client representative said.

The Shelton, Conn.-based company spent $3 million last year, per CMR, but sources said the budget will increase substantially in 2003 as Swiss Army looks to portray itself as a high-end retailer of multiple products — such as watches, travel gear and sunglasses — rather than just a purveyor of cutlery.

The client representative declined to identify the shops presenting next week, but said only a handful remain. Swiss Army vp, global marketing Cheri McKenzie, who is leading the review process, was said to be traveling and could not be reached for comment.

The business has been in-house for several years. Boutique shop Lloyd (+ Co.), New York, produced magazine ads for the brand in the fall of 2000. In the late 1990s, Wenham, Mass., Interpublic Group agency Mullen crafted award-winning Swiss Army work with the tagline, “Swiss Army equipped.” Mullen still handles Swiss Army’s public relations. Victorinox of Switzerland owns Swiss Army Brands, and the client licenses the Victorinox name to distribute men’s and women’s apparel.