Compusa Deal Does Not Stop Ads Of Publicis

Publicis here is releasing new advertising for Computer City despite the client’s pending sale to rival CompUSA.
Publicis will debut a 30-second spot this week in Phoenix to coincide with a store opening and continue radio work that has aired for two months. “It’s business as usual,” said agency co-chairman Steve Price last week, after the deal was unveiled. “Computer City is still a client and we’re moving forward.”
Price admits CompUSA is likely to close or convert Computer City’s 96 stores in the future. Publicis will provide marketing support for those sites during the transition.
Besides TV and radio, Publicis has developed brand strategy for print and point-of-purchase materials. Publicis was hired by Computer City of Fort Worth, Texas, in January.
CompUSA employs Los Angeles-based Italia Advertising for broadcast creative and media duties through the shop’s office here. Like Computer City, CompUSA handles its print advertising internally.
Tandy Corp.’s Computer City posted $31 million in measured media spending last year; CompUSA spent $75 million, per Competitive Media Reporting.
CompUSA has revealed little about its plans for Computer City, other than saying it will keep the brand in Canada. CompUSA director of public communications Carol Elfstrom said future agency plans would be made after the $275 million transaction is completed later this year. Italia vice president of strategic planning Debra Dickson in Dallas would not comment on whether account consolidation discussions have taken place.
Consolidations and mergers have frequently landed extra advertising duties for incumbents of the acquiring company. That notion, however, was turned upside down when DDB Needham in New York ended up with the $200 million Compaq Computer account this month after that firm bought DDB client Digital Equipment Corp.