Partners Picks Up Anti-Virus Client

Software Maker Symantec Taps Agency After GMO Drops Account
BOSTON–While executives from Partners & Simons were on the West Coast pitching the Symantec Corp. account, a virus was invading their computers back in Boston.
The shop’s information technology specialist had already purchased the future client’s Norton 2000 product, which vanquished the virus immediately, recounted agency principal Gib Trub last week.
Symantec, the No. 2 computer software security company in the country, assigned its corporate ad account to Partners & Simons after a low-key review of undisclosed shops.
The estimated $3-5 million assignment had been handled for more than four years by Goldberg Moser O’Neill, San Francisco. The shop resigned the account last year to focus on new business, agency officials said at the time.
Carat Freeman in Newton, Mass., has handled media buying and planning for Symantec since its breakup with GMO and was partly responsible for introducing the agency to the client.
Symantec develops software that helps protect computer systems from viruses and the much-anticipated Y2K problem while assisting with routine functions such as backing up, compressing and restoring files and disks. It also manufactures products that allow PC users to plug into systems from remote locations. Symantec’s primary competitors include Microsoft, Quarterdeck and Network Associates.
In what Trub termed a “low-risk opportunity,” Partners & Simons was contacted earlier this year to develop product-specific ads for Symantec’s Mobile Update and Norton AntiVirus lines. After interviewing other agencies, Symantec executives decided to give the company’s corporate assignment to Partners & Simons.
“We needed a fresh voice and liked their creative process,” said David Burton, head of corporate marketing at Symantec, adding that Partners & Simons was the only East Coast shop the client considered.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based client spent $6.5 million last year on consumer advertising, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and nearly $5 million for the first six months of 1998.
Partners & Simons’ first task will be to develop a new graphic design standard and manual for the company, followed by a print advertising campaign that will include collateral materials and interactive services.
As for the shop’s first-hand experience with the client’s product, Trub chuckled: “I guess we don’t need testimonials . . . because we are one.”