Gateway Unit Shopping Around

Gateway 2000 could use an agency other than lead shop D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles to handle the $5-10 million account of its newly formed major accounts division. Executives at the client said, however, that the informal search now under way will not expand to creative and media duties for its other units now handled by DMB&B.
North Sioux City, S.D.-based Gateway is talking with J. Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett USA, both in Chicago, as well as DMB&B about ad duties for the new unit, sources said. “We are looking at our current advertising and at the possibility of working with someone [besides DMB&B] on this division,” said Fritz Frazier, director of marketing and communications for the major accounts division. Frazier declined to name the other shops, adding, “It’s difficult for an agency to be all things to everybody. But we are very happy with DMB&B.”
DMB&B presented new creative work for the unit to the client last Friday, Frazier said. The agency’s Los Angeles office handles an estimated $70 million in billings for Gateway’s Direct Response and Country Store units and has created a few business-to-business ads since winning the account earlier this year.
James Taylor, the client’s senior vice president of global marketing, denied that the informal discussions with outside shops involve or will lead to another full-scale agency review. He confirmed that “the major-accounts people are reviewing their options.”
Diane Krouse, executive vice president and managing director of DMB&B, Los Angeles, said the agency’s relationship with the client is positive. Executives at JWT and Burnett declined to comment.
Both JWT and Burnett competed in Gateway’s national review. JWT, Chicago, is pitching a global branding assignment from Dell Computer that could take the agency out of any Gateway discussions. –with Scott Hume