IBM PC Co. reeling in agency demos

There will be no jurors, no statues of lions and certainly no French champagne. But once a group of IBM PC Co. executives finishes a mass screening of reels and an analysis of agency information sent to them by what is said to be over 60 shops hoping for a crack at the $30-35-million IBM PC Co. account, they might feel like they’ve sat through Cannes.
“We’re in the process of evaluating,” said review consultant Arthur Einstein. He would not comment further.
Industry executives said that Einstein, IBM PC Co. vp/communications C. Ray Freeman and other client executives were planning to screen the work late last week as part of the first phase of the agency review that began last month.
The reels were sent in response to a letter from Einstein asking for “basic information” about each agency that received the one-page missive. It had a deadline of Tuesday, July 6.
Word of the screening sent some agency executives straight to their grade school multiplication tables. The letter didn’t appear to limit the number of commercials that could be sent, simply asking for ” . . . advertising that you consider your best work.” The implications of that are mind-boggling in the chest-beating agency business.
One agency source sincerely doubted that any shop would send in less than 10 commercials, meaning that the executives may have screened at least 600 spots.
The executives are also expected to meet with some agencies before paring down to a shorter list of roughly two dozen agencies. Even though IBM PC Co. executives are trying to expedite the review process quickly, no deadline has been set for the the first cut.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)