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Notebooks in Review

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Toshiba's notebook division has severed ties with its agency of two years, DGWB, and is putting its $20-30 million creative and media business into review.

Howard Emerson, vp of marketing communications for Toshiba Computer Systems Group in Irvine, Calif., said he wants a shop that could "relate to our marketing direction." He noted the account will focus on specific products set to launch in 2002.

Emerson said Toshiba would be open to a shop of any size in any U.S. region that does not have a computer-hardware maker as a cli ent. He expects to have an agency in place in January.

The client had scaled back its advertising this year, spending $7 million during the first eight months of 2001, per CMR; in 2000, it spent nearly $30 million. Emerson said the reduction came as the result of an industrywide dip in computer-hardware sales. He added the division is set to bring spending back to $20-30 million next year in support of the new Toshiba products.

Emerson said the client has been assigning projects to shops in recent months, but wants one to handle the entire account. He noted that Lyon & Associates, Encinitas, Calif., and Mezzina/Brown, New York, had each handled work recently. Jack Vanden Brulle, general manager at Lyon, said he's interested in continuing his relationship with the client. A Mezzina/Brown representative could not be reached.

Jon Gothold, principal at DGWB, Santa Ana, Calif., attributed the client's move to two factors. "The people we had originally worked with [at Toshiba] left," he said. "Couple that with the hits the industry has [taken], and this might be seen as inevitable."

DGWB still handles Toshiba's Electronics Imaging Department, which has an ad budget of $10 million.