Visconti pen premiere gets star treatment at Cannes

Under the supervision of worldwide president Dante Del Vecchio, Visconti has handcrafted pens from its 15th century villa in Florence, Italy, since 1988.

Under the supervision of worldwide president Dante Del Vecchio, Visconti has handcrafted pens from its 15th century villa in Florence, Italy, since 1988.

Hired last year to broaden the company's position within the entertainment industry, The Michael Russell Group (TMRG) encouraged Visconti to introduce its newest offering at the Cannes Film Festival, says principal Michael Russell, as "everyone in Hollywood would be there."

Strategy

Cannes was the ideal setting to unveil Divine Pro-portion, Russell says, as its opening-night film, The DaVinci Code, was the inspiration for the pen, whose name reflects the aesthetically appealing mathematical relationship featured in the movie. Its plot also inspired a newfound passion for cryptograms, one of which is hidden in the cap and barrel of each pen.
 
Tactics

TMRG organized a suite at Cannes' Hotel Carlton, in which visiting industry reps and journalists could relax and select their own Visconti pens. And the client sponsored the festival's American Pavilion Media Terrace, where visiting VIPs signed a branded board, which was later auctioned for charity. TMRG also developed a partnership with Entertainment Tonight in which pens were presented on-camera to celebrities, and Visconti hosted a yacht reception. 
 
Results

While "a few problems" created obstacles beyond TMRG's control - pens were confiscated by security at the Florence airport, for example - overall, Russell says, the effort was a success. Entertainment industry introductions ranged from Halle Berry, Hugh Hefner (l), and Roger Ebert to Warner Bros. SVP of international marketing Lance Volland and Screen Actors Guild director Paul Bales. Media hits included Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and LA Times.
 
Future

"We have a whole plan laid out for Visconti in 2007," Russell says, including 25th anniversary efforts.


PR team: Visconti (Florence, Italy) and The Michael Russell Group (Manhattan Beach, CA)

Campaign: Divine Proportion at the Cannes Film Festival

Duration: April to May 2006

Budget: Approximately $650,000

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