Sharper Image taps Kwittken

NEW YORK: The Sharper Image recently named Kwittken & Co. as its AOR to assist in the brand's relaunch. It recently filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Hilco Consumer Capital, Gordon Brothers, and Bluestar Alliance.

NEW YORK: The Sharper Image recently named Kwittken & Co. as its AOR to assist in the brand's relaunch. It recently filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Hilco Consumer Capital, Gordon Brothers, and Bluestar Alliance.

The retailer is repositioning itself as a brand driven by global licensing agreements, which previously had accounted for little of its business, but is now helping the company succeed in a difficult economy, said Federico de Bellegarde, VP of licensing for the Sharper Image.

The company decided to hire its first AOR to best leverage its new business strategy and relationships, such as the recent $540 million licensing deal with health and wellness manufacturer, HoMedics, Bellegarde said. The company previously had handled PR internally.

“Our business strategy is different now,” Bellegarde said. “We hired an AOR [to assist] our forward-looking business strategy.”

Updating b-to-b and b-to-c media outlets on the company's new focus will be part of the agency's key responsibilities, according to Jason Schlossberg, president and partner of Kwittken.

Other duties include event sponsorship, product placement, and celebrity and influencer outreach.

The Sharper Image is currently seeking a licensing partner to run its inactive Web site, SharperImage.com, with an informational site in late November or early December. The Web site relaunch is projected for late 2009, Bellegarde said.

Kwittken was chosen from a competitive, three-round review with four other agencies. Hilco Consumer Capital led the search. The other agencies were not disclosed, nor was the account budget.

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