“This is Piaget.”
A three-word manifesto that is exactly what the Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweler wants customers to take away from its latest global campaign, launching Thursday.
Shot by Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson and styled by Paris-based Benjamin Bruno, the new Piaget campaign features a group of eight models including Georgia Palmer and Signe Veiteberg, dubbed the “Piaget Society.”
Looming large next to them are designs from the brand’s already-established Possession and Piaget Polo lines.
“Digging into the past to create the future,” stated Piaget chief executive officer Benjamin Comar, who described the visuals as “[mixing] the sense of elegance inherited from the maison’s origins in La Côte-aux-Fées with the extravaganza of the 1970s when Piaget came to master the craft of gold work and made colorful stones part of its DNA.”
The campaign is the opening gambit for international director of communications and images Fatemeh Laleh, who joined Piaget in January 2022 after leading the Paris branch of the Baron & Baron branding agency, in her bid to overhaul the image of the Swiss jewelry and watch brand.
“When I arrived, I saw a great savoir-faire, a heritage, a knowledge and an agreed value in the product [but] when you closed your eyes, you had no idea” or items that came to mind, at best “a vague remembrance of a logo,” she recalled.
Her top priority is turning a deficit she perceived in brand equity around – fast.
To do so, her plan is “decoding [the Piaget] myth” and its signature lines to build back its previous relevance in innovation, creativity and cultural connections.
Take its community, a group meant to span “cultural leaders, pioneers and modern beauties,” dubbed “Piaget Society.”
Laleh took the shape of trios and quartets of models in each image to capture a sense of joyful togetherness, which was also transmitted by the choice of AZ Factory for the colorful outfits they sported.
Beyond belonging to Compagnie Financière Richemont, the two houses “share a common culture which is the culture of family, of community,” said Laleh, noting that founder Georges-Édouard Piaget and his son Timothée had more than 10 children each, leading to the now 148-year-old Swiss house being “a family affair, with brothers, cousins working together.”
But this isn’t about revolution, she’s “just evolving things,” Laleh reassured. She makes it clear that she’s not angling to replace its solid consumer base with widely coveted but too-volatile “trend fanatics” or early adopters, but wants to attract “life hedonists” who believe in a fun approach to high-end items.
She’s dealing with a similarly light hand with the challenge of bringing together its watches and jewelry under one messaging. “Before, Piaget had to communicate [about either] watches or jewelry. As soon as they shifted one side, the other would go down,” she continued.
Here Laleh pointed to the rotating Possession rings, which nod to the watchmaking world with their mechanical mien, as a design bridging that particular gap, as does the view of the exposed movement on the skeleton version of the Piaget Polo watch.
Playing with their scale on visuals is a way to “make the product so iconic it’s as big as a character,” she explained, and tweaking its delivery with a spirit of “cheekiness” is the overarching narrative Laleh is going for. Out also is the revolving door of product-led launches that created noise and confusion, in favor of installing “icons.”
And then, she’s to take this to market — or rather, markets.
Currently, Piaget’s strongest ones are in Asia, where it established a historic foothold ahead of other luxury labels, the Middle East, followed by Europe and the U.S.
Although her brief from Comar included creating “one narrative globally and make sure it is understood,” Laleh doesn’t believe in a blanket approach to culturally diverse markets.
“I am lucky to be multicultural,” noted the 43-year-old Parisian, who was born in Iran, raised and educated in France and the U.S. before working on both sides of the Atlantic. “[This] gives the understanding that you can think globally but if you’re incapable of translating it locally, it doesn’t work,” she continued, explaining that while the new Piaget image would be the bedrock of its identity going forward, it would be applied in close collaboration with country brand managers.
The revamp of Piaget’s identity will eventually extend to every aspect, including its stores, although “right now, we’re moving on quick wins – a campaign where I’m touching at the iconography in the stores and trying to influence the visual merchandising a little,” she said, noting that corporate identity and the wording were also on the checklist.
Laleh is therefore weighing options for ambassadors, given the brand’s history as “a social brand before social media” thanks to famous wearers like Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Elizabeth Taylor. “So it’s only natural that Piaget has that aura with celebrities,” she noted.
Coming in 2024 is the brand’s 150th anniversary, a milestone that could be a piece of cake – “if I built the cake right,” she said.
So Laleh has the next year-and-some mapped out. After the initial push of the new campaign, the Gala watch family will take pride of place starting Nov. 15, ahead of the line’s 50th anniversary next year.
The 2022 holiday season will reveal another facet of the new identity by highlighting further signatures like its decorative hand-engraved “Palace” décor, with golden-hued visuals. In the new year, it will be back to cementing these signature styles into brand icons visually before a new launch slated for March 2023.
An exhibition is also in the works with curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot. “It should be the culmination of everything that we are fixing and cleaning out, the true manifestation of who we truly are,” said Laleh.