S3 Puts Review in Drive: Computer Company Begins Search for a Tech-Savvy Agency for Print and Radio Ads

By Joan Voight

SAN FRANCISCO–Multimedia technology company S3 has started a statewide review for a new ad agency. Billings for the national account are undisclosed, but industry estimates put them in the $2-5 million range.

The company recently parted ways with LVL Advertising in Palo Alto, Calif., as the incumbent became embroiled in merger negotiations with CKS Group in Cupertino, Calif. (Adweek, June 2).

Based in Santa Clara, Calif., S3 is seeking an agency to craft magazine and radio ads as well as on-line marketing programs for its personal computer hardware designed for PC game enthusiasts, said company representative Paul Crossley.

Shops that understand consumer electronics and the home PC market are high on the company’s list of possible agencies, Crossley said. He would not name the contenders.

The new agency will be charged with creating a pre-holiday campaign to promote the company’s upcoming line of game-related products.

Previous print ads created by LVL have run in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and Popular Science. Radio commercials ran in the Seattle and San Francisco Bay Area markets.

While S3’s main business has been selling hardware and software to major computer manufacturers, it has recently developed graphics, video and multimedia devices known as accelerators for the consumer market, perceived by the company as a high-growth area.

Founded in 1989, S3 went public four years ago. The company pioneered graphics acceleration hardware to improve the performance of the PC by relieving the bottleneck in the computer’s graphics systems.

The computer company posted revenues of $465.4 million in 1996, according to industry reports.

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