Six agencies believed to include incumbent Team One Advertising/El Segundo, Calif., Bozell/Salvati Montgomery Sakoda, Costa Mesa, Calif., and L.A. shops Lord, Dentsu & Partners, DMB&B and Grey Advertising are competing for an estimated $10-15 million AST Research Inc. account. Sources said the Irvine, Calif.-based client is the same company behind the mystery questionnaire that went out to some 25 agencies in recent weeks.
Review consultant Mike Agate, of Select Resources in West Hollywood, Calif., declined to confirm AST as the client. But he did acknowledge that the recent questionnaire and request for examples of print work led to informal meetings with 'half a dozen' shops last week.
'The client right now is going through a series of chemistry checks with about a half dozen agencies,' Agate said. 'That list might be cut or amended or added to.'
AST spent about $5 million on advertising last year, mainly with a print campaign to the trade. The steep billings increase may be tied to the recent acquisition of Tandy Corp.'s manufacturing operations. The purchase makes AST the fourth-largest personal-computer maker nationally and ranks it fifth in the world in terms of units shipped.
It also may be steering the company into developing its own retail outlets. Agency executives who filled out the questionnaire for the business said that the inquiry placed heavy emphasis on retail experience as well as high -tech and telecommunications expertise.
The AST management has changed completely since Team One was awarded the account in August 1992. 'They changed all the (marketing) management in the last six months - the whole team we pitched to last year,' said a Team One executive.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)