Dell Nears Pick for Global Public Biz

Dell is close to naming an agency to handle global creative duties on ads directed at public institutions, and the winner will not be Young & Rubicam in San Francisco, Dell said.

Dell has told the WPP Group shop that it has lost the assignment, a company representative acknowledged today. The rep estimated total annual revenue on the business at $3-5 million.
“We’re planning to move the public [institution] creative to another agency, but we’re not commenting on who the other agency is at this time,” the rep said.

Sources said that four shops, including Y&R, competed for the assignment—one of three that Dell put into play in the fall. The other two assignments are for ads targeting consumers and for ads targeting small- and medium-sized business. Total revenue across all three pieces is estimated at $30 million.

Y&R declined to comment. But in an internal e-mail today, Shelley Diamond, Y&R’s global managing partner on all of the agency’s Dell business, acknowledged the loss.

“It is, of course, a disappointment, even though its impact on [WPP’s] total business is small,” Diamond wrote. “From Dell’s perspective, this very segmented piece of their business would best be served with specialized resources outside of the [WPP] team.”

WPP’s global relationship with Dell spans advertising (Y&R), direct marketing (Wunderman), public relations (Axicom), media planning/buying (Mediacom) and activation (Enfatico). Total revenue across all those services is estimated at $140 million, which means that the public institution loss represents about 2-3 percent of the WPP’s total Dell pie.

The New York office of Wunderman is the primary incumbent on the consumer and small- and medium-sized business accounts. The agency, which declined to comment, is said to be defending against three shops in each of those two pitches. Final presentations are slated for early next month at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif. is managing the review process.