Critical Mass Wins Dell’s Interactive Account

NEW YORK — Critical Mass has won Web duties for Dell Computer following a four-month review, the client confirmed Thursday.

The Canadian-based interactive shop prevailed over contenders that included Razorfish, Zentropy, Organic, Tribal DDB and frogdesign, sources said. Most recently, the bulk of Dell’s interactive account has been handled in-house, though the client has worked with frogdesign in the past, according to sources. Tribal DDB affiliate DDB in Chicago handles Dell’s $200 million traditional ad business, which is unaffected.

As Dell’s new interactive agency, Critical Mass is charged with evaluating and improving the computer maker’s Web site. “We want [Critical Mass] to take a fresh look at the site and see if it there are ways to make it simpler to use,” a client representative said, noting that Internet commerce represents about half of Dell’s yearly revenues. “Our customers are telling us we’re doing a good job. We want to see how we can do an even better job.”

Critical Mass plans to service the account out of its Calgary, Alberta and Chicago offices and place three to five staffers at Dell’s Austin, Texas headquarters. Financials were not disclosed.

“We consider this a coup de grace,” said Jerry Johnston, CEO at Critical Mass, an Omnicom Group shop that works with Mercedes-Benz USA, Hyatt and Nike, among other clients. “We are excited to be taking Dell to the next level by improving the user experience of the Web site.”