Digital to Break First Campaign From DDB, Build Global Identity

BOSTON-As part of a renewed commitment to building a global brand identity, Digital Equipment Corp. this week will unveil its first ad campaign since consolidating its account with DDB Needham this summer.
Spending levels were not disclosed. Digital official Mary Allard said the Maynard, Mass.-based computer maker plans to increase its worldwide spending levels “by at least a third.” In 1996, Digital spent $60 million on domestic advertising alone, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The effort includes product-specific print executions slated to break about six weeks after an initial wave of branding ads, said Allard. Broadcast advertising is being considered, but plans have not been finalized, she added.
Print executions feature the burgundy blocks of Digital’s logo incorporated into each headline. One ad, with the letters “A-L-E-X” superimposed on the blocks, shows a little leaguer running the bases. Body copy quotes Allen Feryus, chief information officer of the New York Mercantile Exchange: “Digital Multivendor Customer Services keeps every part of my system up . . . It saves money. It saves time. Time I can actually spend with my family. I like that. My 5-year-old likes that.” All ads promise that Digital will help companies “win in the networked world.”
Ads target senior information technology executives and MIS managers. “I think what we tried to do with the evolution of this campaign is put Digital in the mental crosshairs of [chief information officer] and . . . managers,” said David Nathanson, group creative director at DDB.
Print ads will run into 1998 in newspapers, the business press and high-tech magazines including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Time and PC Week.
Along with creative chores, DDB is handling worldwide media buying. The New York shop, which had worked on various assignments for Digital, attained lead agency status when Young & Rubicam in New York and the client agreed to part ways in July. -with Rob Lenihan

For its 1997 fiscal year ended in July, Digital posted revenues of $13 billion, down from $14.5 billion the previous year. Net income improved to $141 million, compared with a loss of $112 million in fiscal 1996. Over the past five years, the company’s performance has been mixed, with losses in 1993, ’94 and ’96 balanced by a pair of profitable years.
The campaign constitutes a new commitment by the company to unify its marketing messages and promote all product lines under one brand image-guided by a single agency, Allard said.
By using its logo, the company is hoping to make “a strong, simple, visual statement,” Allard said.