Venables Lands Creative Lead on Intel

SAN FRANCISCO Venables Bell & Partners has become Intel’s lead creative partner in a move that may pave the way for other shops to be added to the chip-maker’s roster, according to the client.

Venables has been tapped for the client’s “masterbrand” creative, but it remains undetermined which other agencies will execute it globally and which ones will be given Intel product assignments, per Intel.

The San Francisco shop, which works for marketers like Audi, Coca-Cola, Sprint and Barclays, replaced McCann Erickson, which has worked for the company since McCann Worldgroup became Intel’s agency of record in 2005. “McCann is still in the running” for those other assignments, said company rep David Dickstein, who added, “But whether they’ll be part of the open source model has not been determined.”

With a nod to Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara, Calif., company is using “open source” relationships with agencies outside lead resource McCann Worldgroup. Since the IPG unit was hired in 2005, Intel has added shops like Omnicom’s OMD and Doremus as well as Microsoft’s Razorfish. OMD came aboard earlier this year as lead media shop following a high-profile review.

McCann Worldgroup’s interactive arm, MRM Worldwide, continues as the agency for

While Intel is still determining its current marketing budget, Dickstein said he “does not expect it to be dramatically different” from the $300 million he said was budgeted for 2008. He said he does not know the breakdown between media spending for the masterbrand image work and that for product.

Venables won the assignment without a review. However, Dickstein said McCann had been informed that Intel was looking at another creative agency and was given the opportunity to pitch ideas.

“What impressed people was Venables’ creativity and niche experience. They showed us they clearly had the goods,” he said. The agency’s first work is expected to launch in the second quarter.

Most recently, Intel has been focused on product advertising. Its last masterbrand campaign “Chips” launched about two years ago. Previous campaigns featured the “bunny suits” — the contaminant-free coveralls worn by Intel factory workers — which broke on the Super Bowl in 1997.