A Handful of Global Nets Catch Compaq’s Eye

Jones-Lundin Hired to Run Search for Company’s $300 Mil. Account
NEW YORK–Compaq Computer is inviting a handful of shops, as well as incumbent DDB Worldwide, to pitch its estimated $300 million global advertising account, sources said.
Having reached out to D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Grey Advertising, Jones-Lundin Associates here is expected to contact Young & Rubicam and FCB Worldwide.
DDB officials said they will “enthusiastically defend” the global business. Other agency officials did not return calls.
Sources said the Houston-based client will conduct one round of presentations “very soon,” followed by a cut and then final pitches before an April decision.
“We preselected agencies that can best meet Compaq’s global requirements,” said client representative Alan Hodel. “One of our top priorities is to make sure that any agency [selected] is itself at the edge of the Internet revolution. Nothing should be construed as saying DDB falls short on that.”
Y&R, which has Sony’s personal-computer business in the U.S. appears to be the only shop that has a conflict. Last summer, Grey won Oracle’s estimated $100 million Net-software account. On Friday, Oracle and Compaq announced a partnership in which prospective customers can “test drive” the compatibility of Oracle software on Compaq machines.
In addition, Compaq CEO Michael Capellas was general manager at Oracle before joining Compaq in 1998.
DDB has had a tenuous hold on the Compaq account since winning it from Ammirati Puris Lintas in June 1998. DDB held on even after Andrew Salzman, svp, worldwide advertising at Compaq, resigned last July. Sources said the client has long been dissatisfied with DDB’s strategy for its e-business campaign.
After Salzman’s exit, DDB ditched the “Better answers” tag in favor of “24x7xCompaq” in September. In November, DDB unveiled a general ad campaign featuring Sting. Compaq paid $7 million to sponsor his Brand New Day tour. –with staff reports