Pentax Clicks With Della Femina

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Pentax USA Inc. hired Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners, New York, as its agency of record, replacing Denver shop Launch.

Della Femina competed with Vitro Robertson, San Diego, and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West, San Francisco. The incumbent did not participate in the review. Billings were not disclosed.

"The mandate is to get these guys on the radar screen," said Michael Jeary, president and chief operating officer at Della Femina. "They had a huge presence in the camera market in the '80s and '90s."

Pentax boosts Della Femina's portfolio, which includes AT&T Wireless, Baruch College, Meredith Corp., Standard & Poor's, Pearson PLC, Yardley of London, Coty Beauty and City Meals-on-Wheels.

The agency will offer media, creative, Web site development, collateral, designing, point-of-purchase and mail services. It will use media like television, consumer and trade print, mail and online banners, content and cross-referrals. Customer relationship marketing is a focus, too.

Like a few of its rivals, Pentax was hit by the sudden preference for digital cameras. Some estimates claim digital versions account for two of five cameras sold nationwide.

"They have to raise their awareness," Jeary said. "Right now they're primarily sold in specialty camera chains. But they're doing a big push to sell in major consumer electronics stores so that they can be accessible to consumers where they're shopping for these kinds of cameras."

The Pentax positioning is under development for a campaign debut this quarter.

"We'd like people to go to their site," Jeary said. "Direct is significant. When you think of how people find out about digital cameras, how they cross-compare, the Internet is the best place to arm yourself. It's one of the key elements of the marketing."

Della Femina's initial emphasis is on pushing Pentax's Optio line of digital cameras. The brand competes with products from Sony, Fujifilm, Eastman Kodak Co., Canon and Olympus, which account for about 80 percent of the market among them. Nikon, Minolta and Pentax comprise the rest.

A wholly owned arm of Pentax Corp., Pentax USA makes digital and film cameras, eyepieces, lenses, laser and mobile printers, scanners, Web cameras and binoculars. The subsidiary is based in Golden, CO.

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