The list of IBM units looking for their own shops is a long one. IBM executives reported last week that the Norwalk, Conn.-based Pennant Systems, which generates revenues of over $2 billion per year, has finally kicked off its agency review (ADWEEK, July 13), with IBM's two primary shops-Wells, Rich Greene BDDP (corporate) and Lintas:N.Y. (product)conspicuously absent.
While Integration Systems Solutions Corp. (ISSC) publicly maintains that it has no plans to advertise, sources at the the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based said that they have tapped Wells for a print assignment on a six-month test basis.
Two other baby blues have also tapped agencies for their assignments. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Metaphor, has hired its old agency, Battenberg, Phillhardt & Wright/San Jose, (which it worked with before the company was acquired by IBM) while the IBM Business Recovery Systems Unit has hired the Greenwich, Conn.-based Genova, Hartwick & Juliano.
And in another boost for Wells, IBM executives reported that the Thornwood, N.Y.-based Skills Dynamics has begun its own national campaign via the agency.
Perhaps the promising baby blue is the Somers, N.Y.-based IBM Personal Computer Co. While Lintas is the AOR on the account, according to IBM, sources said its hold is tenuous. A related development was Grey Direct's takeover last week of the PC operation's roughly $15'million direct marketing account. That battle also included Young & Rubicam's Chapman Direct unit.
"It's the first time in our relationship with IBM that virtually everyone concurred that Grey Direct should have all of their communications," said George Wiedemann, chairman of Grey Direct, which has had some IBM direct business since 1984.
Sources indicated that Lintas, rather than WRG, stood to feel it in the pocketbook as a result of IBM's decision to re-direct marketing funds. According to one Lintas source, the assignment of about $15 million in direct billings to Grey Direct is expected to cause layoffs at Lintas' direct response unit for which IBM is a major client.
As one of last Akers-era decisions, Grey's selection was approved by Communication Services gm Jim Reilly who has power over advertising on products with IBM's logo.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)