The agency, a unit of direct marketing shop Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, was one of six shops to be awarded IBM's interactive business last month. However, sources said the Armonk, N.Y.-based technology giant asked the company to resign the account because it conflicts with an existing client, believed to be Dell Computer.
The other agencies named to the IBM roster are Modem Media.Poppe Tyson, Westport, Conn., OgilvyOne, R/GA Interactive and Think New Ideas, all New York, and Studio Archetype, San Francisco.
An IBM representative would not confirm or deny SIG's resignation nor comment on whether a replacement agency would be named. SIG execs did not return calls seeking comment by press time.
Separately, SIG has been named interactive buying agency of record for Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J. An executive at the company confirmed SIG's appointment but would not comment further about online media plans.
Maker of brands such as Band-Aid, Johnson & Johnson is yet another packaged goods manufacturer that has decided to make a commitment to online marketing this year. J&J executives attended August's Future of Advertising Stakeholders Summit, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, which urged marketers to expand their Web presence.
Other agencies believed to have competed for the J&J assignment were Think New Ideas, CKS Group and Agency.com, all in New York, as well as a number of undisclosed shops, sources said.
J&J has not specified a budget for the online media business. The company spent a total of $740 million on measured media in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. For the first six months of 1998, J&J spent around $350 million.
The company's roster of traditional agencies includes Interpublic Group shops McCann-Erickson and Ammirati Puris Lintas, and Saatchi & Saatchi.