Bronner West Riding Dell’s Growth

Shop Adds Staff as Computer Maker Plans Aggressive Spending
SAN FRANCISCO–Operating under a part-time interim president, the West Coast outpost of Boston-based direct marketing agency Bronner Slosberg Humphrey has more than doubled in size since opening its doors six months ago.
Encompassing the Sansome Group and Strategic Interactive Group divisions, the San Francisco office has grown from about $25 million to more than $60 million in billings. Much of that expansion has been fueled by the growth of the Dell Computer account SIG landed last year.
While agency and client officials declined to specify billings on the Dell business, sources said the computer maker is expected to boost marketing spending by about 40 percent this year, and is shifting dollars from other marketing avenues toward interactive projects.
“The account is growing,” said David Kenny, Bronner’s chief executive officer, adding that Dell may add direct response projects designed to drive customers to its online sales apparatus.
A representative at Dell in Austin, Texas, confirmed the company will implement increasingly aggressive spending plans in its online business.
Dell’s ad agencies are Goldberg Moser O’Neill in San Francisco and BBDO in New York.
To accommodate the growth of the Dell account, Bronner is filling 60-70 positions in San Francisco in both its Sansome and SGI divisions, according to Kenny.
On the SIG side, Jay Hussey has been tapped as group director. He previously worked at San Francisco marketing shop Resource for tech clients such as Cisco and Sun Microsystems.
At Sansome Group, a permanent president is expected to be selected by the end of the month. That post is being held on a temporary basis by executive vice president Reuben Hendell, whose management duties also include overseeing two other Bronner offices.
The office’s other clients are Charles Schwab, LA Cellular and U.S. Satellite Broadcasting, which is in the process of being acquired by DirecTV. Bronner officials anticipate further assignments to come from DirecTV when the buyout is completed [Adweek, Feb. 1].
In December, San Francisco investment firm Hellman & Friedman bought 20 percent of Bronner for $60-80 million in cash, sources said. Privately owned Bronner has more than $900 million in billings and almost 1,000 employees worldwide.