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HIGH-TECH TREK: Western Shops to Talk With Microsoft About Its $22-Mil. Account By Kathy Tyre

Software giant Microsoft has agreed to meet with several West Coast agencies interested in pitching its estimated $22-m

The company may be examining all of its marketing relationships as it seeks to manage its rapid growth and tame its renegade image. There are also reports of upheaval in Microsoft’s direct marketing unit, which too has experienced tremendous growth. That business is handled by Ogilvy & Mather Direct/West. Microsoft has already embraced TV advertising, which is not widely accepted in the industry, and may be reevaluating all its programs in the same way that Apple did some months ago.
Regarding the general market account, Microsoft director of corporate communications Mike Delman firmly denied that any meetings are scheduled. He also said that Microsoft executives do meet with other agencies from time-to-time when approached, and that the process doesn’t indicate any dissatisfaction with agency-of-record Ogilvy. ‘I value people’s opinions, especially smart people, and we love to talk to smart people. I feel we owe it to people to afford them that opportunity.’
Ogilvy & Mather/L.A. managing director Jerry McGee said there are absolutely no problems between the agency and Microsoft and that O&M has received assurances from the client that the relationship is secure.
Agencies interested in Microsoft say wrangling for a meeting with the Redmond, Wash.-based company isn’t nearly as easy as Delman makes it sound. Attempts to attract the coveted account have been politely declined in the past. The difference this time may be senior Microsoft officials.
Agency sources said that Delman and Microsoft vp/marketing Gary Gigot, both of whom were formerly at O&M, are loyal to the agency. But while they appear satisfied with the shop’s work, their superiors appear open to new thinking.
Sources have said that Microsoft Direct executives have been unhappy with staffing support on the account and about a lack of promised coordination between O&M and O&M Direct. Delman also denied separate reports that Ogilvy & Mather Direct/West’s relationship with Microsoft’s direct marketing unit, which bills at least as much as the general market account, may be in jeopardy.
Delman said that Microsoft only signed a contract with the direct agency six months ago, having worked on an assignment basis until now. The contract was signed with the assurance staffing requirements would be met, and they had been, he said.
O&M put Microsoft into TV for Microsoft’s Windows graphic system.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)