HP Unit Eyes Three Agencies in Global Review

Hewlett-Packard has cut to three holding companies in its review of global marketing services for its technology solutions group, sources said.

Still contending are teams from Omnicom Group, WPP Group and Havas, said sources. No longer in the picture are teams from Interpublic Group and Publicis Groupe.

The cut came after five initial teams submitted RFPs and met with client executives at their headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif. Ark Advisors in Playa del Rey, Calif., is managing the process.

Ark did not return calls, and the client could not immediately be reached. Sources said HP has briefed the remaining contenders and they’re preparing for final presentations, which are slated for late December.

The assignment includes traditional advertising, direct and search-engine marketing, interactive efforts and media duties. Total revenue on the business is estimated at $100 million-plus.

HP’s technology solutions group is said to employ some 2,000 shops worldwide, and a consolidation to fewer agencies under a single holding company is the primary objective of the review.

HP believes it can operate more efficiently, achieve better consistency across disciplines and reduce the cost of TSG advertising in such a consolidation, said sources.

TSG supplies servers, software for managing Internet technology and consulting services. As such, the global ad assignment is a business-to-business play.

Agencies that handle TSG in different parts of the world include Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Publicis Groupe’s Publicis; WPP’s Wunderman; IPG’s Draftfcb; and Publicis’ Zenith Optimedia, which is responsible for media duties across HP’s four divisions. (The other divisions are the personal systems group, imaging and printing, and electronic data systems, which HP acquired this year.)

HP is leaving it up to each holding company to propose how it would manage the multidisciplined global account. Some may put forth agency networks with partners, while others may propose a holding company-led solution. A final selection is expected early next year.