Wgc unveils £10m global advertising campaign

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WGC unveils £10m global advertising campaign

  • Campaign marks shift to new and authentic style of luxury goods advertising

  • National Geographic Image Collection hired for photo shoot

2 September 2004: The World Gold Council has today unveiled its latest £10m international advertising campaign, ‘Speak Gold’, designed to stimulate consumer demand for gold jewellery in key markets globally.
The campaign was created by London-based agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), who hired photographers represented by National Geographic Image Collection, a full-service photo agency, to illustrate that gold is a universally understood language that conveys profound emotions to people across the globe. Acclaimed photographers Michael Yamashita, William Albert Allard, Jodi Cobb and Joel Sartore, were asked to capture the emotional role played by gold jewellery in the lives of women worldwide. National Geographic Image Collection produced the shots.
The campaign did not adopt the traditional use of fashion models, but picked women to illustrate contemporary views of everyday life in urban and rural settings. The photographers captured images of women in China (Shanghai, Tongli and Hangzhou); Italy (Milan and Tuscany); USA (New York and Lincoln, Nebraska), and India (Mumbai, and rural Bangalore). The imagery depicts different cultures and similar emotional contexts with the unifying and universal energy of gold jewellery.
Gold has connected people and expressed emotions across cultures for centuries and communicates in a language that is often more powerful than words, expressing deep emotions and symbolising key events in life. The universal language and historical relevance that are unique to gold are the key creative concepts underpinning the ‘One Language Everyone Understands’ idea.
Philip Olden, the World Gold Council’s managing director of international jewellery and marketing, commented: “By depicting women in every day situations in a global setting, the campaign represents a departure from the style of advertising which has to-date characterised the luxury goods industry. We believe that strong photography, which not only captures how gold jewellery is worn in different cultures but demonstrates how women have the same profound feelings about the precious metal, gives a powerful message to consumers about why to buy gold and what gold to buy. Early feedback from focus groups in the U.S. and Italy has already told us that consumers welcome the relevance of our approach.”
Research from the World Gold Council provided an insight into why consumers buy gold jewellery, as well as identifying the type of consumers most likely to buy it, either for themselves or as a gift for loved ones. The advertising campaign aims to excite and engage this group during the main buying season.
Steve Kershaw, group director at BBH, commented: “We’re delighted that this idea is borne out of real consumer insights into real people and their love for gold jewellery rather than the contrived imagery usually associated with luxury fashion advertising. Gold has a unique story to tell as it touches consumers with its warmth and deep emotional connection.”

Maura Mulvihill, vice president, National Geographic Image Collection, added: “As an agency, National Geographic Image Collection has access to an unparalleled pool of world-class photographers. We can find the right photographer for any kind of commercial assignment, anywhere in the world. The National Geographic’s unique photographic style brings a degree of authenticity and integrity to advertisements that makes ads we photograph and produce ring true and stand out from the competition.”

The print-based campaign will appear in leading fashion and lifestyle titles in the U.S. and Italy, including Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire, from September to December 2004. A simultaneous poster campaign will run in Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Dalas, Phoenix and Houston. It will be supported by point-of-sale marketing material and the web site www.speakgold.com. The ‘One Language’ campaign will be rolled out into other major international markets during 2005.

The campaign features jewellery from the collections of some of the World Gold Council’s manufacturing, wholesale and retail partners from the USA, Italy and Turkey.
- Ends -
For further information and campaign photography, contact Anita Saunders, head of public relations at the World Gold Council, on 0207 826 4716 or 07841 299549. Alternatively e-mail anita.saunders@gold.org.
Notes to Editors:

World Gold Council

The World Gold Council (WGC), a commercially-driven marketing organisation, is funded by the world’s leading gold mining companies. A global advocate for gold, the WGC aims to promote the demand for gold in all its forms through marketing activities in major international markets. For further information visit www.gold.org.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Bartle Bogle Hegarty is one of the world’s most famous advertising agencies. Founded in 1982, the agency has produced campaigns for clients such as Levi’s, Boddingtons, Audi and Lynx. BBH now has offices in London, New York, Singapore, Tokyo, and employs 500 staff worldwide. The Agency is currently ‘Agency of the Year’ as voted by three separate organisations in the UK and Europe. The agency is also the current holder of the IPA’s Grand Prix for effectiveness for its work with Barnado’s.

About National Geographic Image Collection

The National Geographic Image Collection acts as a photo agency for 150 photographers who work for the National Geographic Society, providing photographic talent for original commercial assignment to advertising agencies worldwide. The Image Collection also operates as a stock photography agency with an archive of 10.5 million images.
About the Photographers:

Writer/photographer William Albert Allard is a photographer of people. Able to capture the emotions of an individual or crowd, he has brought before the world images of stoic cowboys, the passion of blues singers, and the tragic stories of India’s Untouchables. He is one of the few photographers of his generation whose entire professional body of work is in colour. Now a staff photographer, he has contributed to National Geographic publications since 1964.


Jodi Cobb specializes in both large-scale, global stories and in more intimate stories inside closed and secret worlds. Her use of delicate and intricate details brings focus to universal themes, exemplified in her recent-award winning coverage of 21st century slavery. A staff photographer for National Geographic, she has worked in more than fifty countries, primarily in the Middle East and Asia.


Born in Oklahoma but with deep attachments to Nebraska, Joel Sartore brings his abundant mid-western wit and work ethic to all of his National Geographic magazine assignments. Joel’s sharp eye, artistic talents and 20 years of experience (13 with the National Geographic Society) allow him to bring a personal touch to topics as wide-ranging as the remote Madidi rain forest in Boliva and beer-drinking, mountain-racing fire fighters in the United Kingdom.


Working on assignments for the National Geographic magazine has proven to be fertile ground for nurturing Mike’s two passions – photography and travel. Many of his 34 articles and books have focused on Asian topics, tackling the continent from a variety of angles, and an epic three-part work on the travels of Marco Polo is the latest result. A multiple award winner, Mike’s photo of Korea’s DMZ was recently named the best photo of the year by the Asian American Journalists Association.

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