Zenith to End Ad Hiatus $10 Mil. Print Campaign Will Break This Fall

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–With a slight modification of its venerable logo, the Zenith Electronics Corp. is set to launch its first national advertising campaign in five years this summer with work from Bagby & Co. here.

The $10 million-plus print and outdoor campaign will include national magazines, outdoor and promotions. The goal is to freshen Zenith’s rather old-fashioned image and let consumers know about the full line of television and home theater products offered by the Glenview, Ill.-based electronics company.

Bagby won the Zenith account in January following a review. ‘The charge was to help them re-energize their image,’ said Robert Lavin, Bagby president.

Zenith used its lightning bolt Z logo for more than 75 years before hiring Bagby, a marketing communications firm, to help develop a new look. What they came up with is ‘zenith’ in lower case letters followed by a slightly enhanced lightning-bolt Z. The old logo employed the lightning bolt as the first letter of its name.

Lavin acknowledged the change appears slight, as the lightning bolt remains one of the most recognizable trademarks among consumers. ‘You’d have to be an insane lunatic to throw away all that recognition,’ he said.

Playful print ads will trade heavily on the logo and various Zenith products, Lavin added. In addition, Zenith will sponsor the eighth annual Blues Music Festival in more than 40 cities beginning June 9.

Zenith had been without an agency of record for several years and has recently undergone significant management changes. The company, known primarily for its television sets, spent just $2.8 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Bagby, a marketing communications firm with about 40 employees, worked on Zenith’s annual reports for many years before it picked up the advertising account.

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