EDS Wants Fallon for Turnaround

Info Systems Consultant Plans to Boost Budget Tenfold to $50 Mil.
CHICAGO-Fallon McElligott’s track record of reinvigorating brands helped it land Electronic Data Systems’ $50 million global account, officials said.
“[Fallon] understood where the EDS brand is and where it needs to be,” said Cecilia Norwood, the company’s vice president of corporate communications.
Agency chairman Pat Fallon led the shop’s pitch in a review that lasted less than a month, Norwood said. The speed of the review demonstrates the Plano, Texas-based company’s commitment to “action and urgency,” she said.
With competition from the likes of IBM, Compaq, Unisys and Andersen Worldwide, the $17 billion information systems consulting company is looking to create a new global brand identity.
“They were once a great brand, and they need to be great again,” Fallon said. He pointed to Timex watches and Time magazine as two brands the agency has helped return to prominence.
The Minneapolis agency will create print, broadcast and Internet ads and handle media planning and domestic buying, Norwood said. Though EDS spent less than $5 million on ads last year, the company is planning to spend around $50 million on the new campaign, she said.
“We’ve been invisible too long,” she said. “We have a lot to tell the world about EDS.”
EDS recently entered into an alliance with MCI Worldcom for a new e-commerce business consulting unit and last month announced it would focus most of its efforts on a new E-Business Solutions division.
Spurring the push is the company’s new chief executive officer, Richard Brown, formerly CEO at Cable & Wireless in the U.K.
Other contenders in the review were Bates Worldwide and Grey Advertising, both New York, and DDB Dallas.
Bates had been EDS’ agency since 1995. The shop will continue to handle overseas media buying, production and some translation, Norwood said. Fallon will handle all other aspects of the account.
The win is Fallon’s second in the high-tech arena in as many weeks. The agency’s New York office recently won Internet service provider Mindspring’s $20 million account.