With the launch of its $70 million global brand campaign less than two months away, Dell Computer is said to be unhappy with the new tagline and has sent J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, back to the drawing board to find a phrase that better conveys Dell's direct sales paradigm.
Dell executives have told JWT that the tagline it created, "Take the direct approach. Dell. Fast. Forward," lacks clarity and fails to convey the uniqueness of Dell's direct approach, according to a source familiar with the work.
"It's a great line, but what does it say about Dell?" the source said.
The computer maker believes the "Fast. Forward" part of the tag does not differentiate Dell from competitors that also use a direct sales approach, sources said. Dell contends that while such rivals as Compaq, IBM, Gateway and Micron have direct and build-to-order divisions, they are not truly direct since they are wed to other distribution channels.
The "Take the direct approach" part of the tagline may remain, the source said.
Brian Heffernan, JWT Chicago's newly appointed president, would not confirm any trouble with the tag, but said discussions about strategy were typical between agencies and new clients.
"The advertising was in production, and it is all moving forward," he said. He called the interest in changing the tag "much ado about nothing."
Dell plans to target three different market segments with the new campaign: savvy home users (typically adults over 30 with families); small and home office users; and chief information officers.
The work will aim to outline how Dell's direct sales approach is relevant for each of those markets.
The campaign is expected to include as many as six TV spots, a dozen print ads and several radio spots.