Gateway Taps Weber Group For Global PR

BOSTON – The Weber Group last week leveraged its membership in McCann-Erickson WorldGroup to win public relations duties for personal computer giant Gateway.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based shop was selected following a review of undisclosed agencies. Hill & Knowlton, Edelman PR Worldwide and Patrice Tanaka & Co., all in New York, had previously worked on various portions of the Gateway account. A client official would not disclose whether those shops participated in the review.
Weber president Marijean Lauzier said Gateway’s selection of McCann-Erickson, New York, in April as its ad agency was a factor in her shop picking up public relations chores. “Being able to offer integrated solutions” through its ties to McCann “was a key point” in Weber’s favor, Lauzier said.
Billings and fees were not disclosed, but Gateway now becomes one of Weber’s three largest clients, along with 3Com and Sybase, Lauzier said.
Weber’s initial assignment includes supporting McCann’s recently unveiled “Let’s talk about your Gateway” campaign and help the North Sioux City, S.D.-based client build its brand worldwide. Consumers as well as small and medium-sized businesses will be targeted, Lauzier said.
Gateway moved its $50-70 million ad business to McCann from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, without a review. The move was made shortly after former AT&T executive Jeffrey Weitzen, who had close ties to McCann, joined Gateway as president.
Weber has connections to Gateway rival IBM through Technology Solutions, the New York public relations agency that handles some projects for Big Blue. Both Weber and Technology Solutions are operated by Weber Public Relations Worldwide, which in turn reports to McCann’s WorldGroup. The ultimate parent company for all these entities is the Interpublic Group of Cos., based in New York.
Asked about a possible conflict between Gateway and IBM, Lauzier said that since Weber and Technology Solutions are run as separate companies, “that really wasn’t an issue.”