Qualcomm Launches Creative Agency Review

By Patrick Coffee 

San Diego-based telecommunications giant Qualcomm is in the midst of a creative agency review with incumbent DDB San Francisco defending. Kantar Media’s latest numbers tell us that Qualcomm spent approximately $10 million on measured media in 2015.

The company first hired the Omnicom shop in 2013 to “develop corporate image advertising.” DDB won a pitch that included Ogilvy & Mather for an account that was worth an estimated $2 million at the time. That review followed the appointment of CMO Anand Chandrasekher, who previously held several senior-level roles at Intel. He was “censured” several months later and effectively demoted after he referred to competitor Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip as “a gimmick,” prompting his employer to issue a correction; Qualcomm has yet to name a new CMO.

Both Qualcomm and DDB declined to comment directly on the current review. A DDB spokesperson deferred to the client, and a representative wrote, “we don’t comment on our internal relationships with our agencies.”

Multiple sources, however, have confirmed that the review is active and that DDB opted to defend. According to the same sources, the move was not unexpected as DDB’s original contract with Qualcomm ends this year.

The agency has created a variety of work for the client, launching its first brand campaign last April under the “Why Wait” theme. The campaign emphasized the speed of Qualcomm’s wireless technologies, with its VP of marketing and branding telling Adweek, “We have tremendous capabilities, but we’ve never talked about them.” Since then, DDB continued to develop the “why wait” in an additional spot released this January and, more recently, a documentary series called “Invent Off” in collaboration with director Andrew Fried of the Netflix food fetish series “Chef’s Table.”

We do not currently know which agencies are involved in the review beyond DDB San Francisco, which went through a round of downsizing this summer after founding client Clorox’s decision to send its creative business to FCB and mcgarrybowen.