WGC to Begin New Campaign

The World Gold Council (WGC) soon will begin a worldwide media campaign to reposition gold in the minds and hearts of consumers as well as those in the trade.

According to WGC corporate director Michael C. Barlerin, the campaign in the United States alone will cost $7 million, focusing on ads in fashion and lifestyle consumer magazines from August through December.

“We’re dealing with a global campaign, with the U.S. launch as its most important part,” Barlerin told a gathering of trade journalists in a New York restaurant. The campaign will be similar in all countries, he added, but it will be “tweaked for the U.S.” market.

In addition to advertising in the consumer press, some advertising will be done in jewelry trade magazines to preview the campaign to the jewelry industry.

The New York ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty LLC designed the magazine ads, and Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, New York, is handling public relations.

The ad campaign will focus on the sensual, spiritual value of gold; its historical significance; and the way it is admired and valued for its beauty, warmth, and sensuality, Barlerin said. As part of the campaign, the ancient circular symbol for gold used by alchemists—who, along with members of ancient cultures such as the Incas and Egyptians, equated gold with the sun—has been revised.

The ads will range in length from three pages to eight-page “gatefolds.” The first page or spread will feature a stark, dark (mostly black and white) minimalist look at fashion. Consumers who turn the page or open the fold will be greeted with models on a beach wearing gold jewelry. The beach and sky are colored in a golden hue, again pointing out the warmth of the precious metal.

“We had to develop a distinctive and relevant campaign to have people think of gold differently,” Harvey said. “We need to reappraise gold for what it is, a sensual and warm metal. And to provide that balance in their lives … A cold, stark world contrasted with a gold world.”

Barlerin emphasized that the campaign will focus on the high-end market and will hope for a “trickle-down” effect throughout the consumer chain.

He explained that in 1999, two things happened to make this campaign a reality: First, gold producers became more committed to marketing to Western countries and doubled their contribution to the WGC to make that happen. Second, the industry realized that gold needed an image makeover. The commitment was set at a 1999 WGC meeting in Paris.

“For the first time, the council approved a multinational program for gold,” Barlerin said. “One global voice for gold.”