Cogent has won the 1m Ellesse watches account from McCann-Erickson Manchester.
McCann says it lost the business because Ellesse decided to revert to its old brand style, while McCann had been bringing the image closer to that of Ellesse sports clothing.
This aims to be at the cutting edge of fashion with a series of mainly black and white advertisements using spot colour only on the Ellesse name.
McCann group board director Simon Clinton says: “There was no formal pitch. The company said it wanted to change direction, but we stood by our creative work.”
Clinton claims that sales of Ellesse watches, which were launched at the start of 1992, have been declining over the past year.
Stellux managing director Stuart Wood, who heads Ellesse Watch in the UK, denies this, but admits that growth has been much slower than in the past.
Wood says: “The watches brand was losing its identity. People saw it just as a sports watch.” Cogent says it plans to give the brand a sexier image.
McCann Manchester, which had held the watches account for only a year, retains the business for Ellesse apparel.