Waterford, which provides the crystal ball that descends in Times Square every New Year’s Eve, has its own brand resolution for 2010: more sparkle.
The ad copy on a new poster for Waterford crystal, starring a pair of champagne flutes, reads:
When two people are meant for each other to come together, you can see it. It’s a sparkle that lights up a room. A sparkle that grows brighter with each passing year. The sparkle of a new beginning.
The poster could be optimistically referring to Waterford itself, which is undergoing its own “new beginning” and hopes that its $2.5 million ad campaign will result in a very sparkly 2010.
The 250-year-old Dublin-based subsidiary of WWRD Holdings, which also owns other brands you’ll find in your grandparents’ curio cabinet (Wedgewood and Royal Dalton), was placed into administration (UK equivalent of bankruptcy protection) in February at a time when consumers are forgoing the $275 candlesticks (now on sale for $129).
In 1986, Waterford acquired Wedgewood, an even older company – believing the two brands were “meant for each other to come together.” But during the last five years, despite several rounds of cost-cutting and layoffs, that sparkle has almost fizzled out. Though the products produced by the two brands are quite different (the blue of Wedgewood’s pottery is as recognizable as Tiffany’s, while you can see right through most of Waterford’s items), they’re all in the luxury category: in hindsight, this brand mashup looks more like someone put all his Fabergé eggs into one basket.
The brands’ assets are now owned by the private equity firm KPS Capital Partners, and it appears that the firm is committed to giving Waterford a serious chance to thrive: the New York Times mentions four agencies enlisted in the rebranding effort, a promotional blitz that includes print ads, new-media placement, and even an iPhone app that offers “virtual toasting.”
An estimated 1 billion people are going to watch that crystal ball drop in Times Square. Perhaps it’s time to make that Waterford logo a little bigger.