H Samuel appoints Maher Bird to build mass-market sales

H Samuel, the high-street jewellry chain, has appointed Maher Bird Associates to handle its above-the-line advertising account.

The Signet-owned retailer, which has 425 UK outlets, wants to boost its profile among a mass-market audience, while positioning it with a more luxury image than it has enjoyed in the past.

The campaign will begin with an estimated £1 million test budget, which will back ads that will run over the Christmas period. However, the company has set aside a further £6 million, should the test prove effective.

The pitch against Walsh Trott Chick Smith and Burkitt DDB, was overseen by the Haystack Group. RPM3, which previously held the account, did not re-pitch. John Ayling & Associates will continue to handle all media.

The H Samuel relaunch is said to involve both TV executions and radio spots. The company is looking to air a branding campaign, moving away from previous product- and price-led advertising.

Last month Signet announced that it was intending to shift the emphasis in its H Samuel stores away from giftware and into diamond jewellry. In the US, Signet's "Leo diamond has helped boost the group's profits by 33.5 per cent to £23.9 million in the year to May 2002.

The move comes as De Beers and LVMH plan to launch a major retail joint venture. DDB's Paris agency, Louis XIV, was hired to create advertising for the launch of the venture later this year.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).