Microsoft Hears McCann, A&L Pitch Global Business

Client, Disappointed by Wieden, Is Considering Revamping Creative
SAN FRANCISCO–McCann-Erickson and Anderson & Lembke have teamed up to jointly pitch Microsoft’s entire global ad business, making their case during a presentation for the software giant’s Windows business late last month. The company spent more than $230 million on advertising in the U.S. last year.
John Dooner, chairman and chief executive officer of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, is leading the effort to win Microsoft’s hand, said sources.
Microsoft recently fired Wieden & Kennedy from Windows, an account worth $50-100 million [Adweek, April 12]. Wieden, in Portland, Ore., retains corporate image duties.
Microsoft is also unhappy with that work, said sources, and is concerned that its advertising does not portray Microsoft as a necessity among top business decision makers. Instead, recent TV spots show young people using Microsoft products for school projects.
Microsoft executives such as president and COO Robert Herbold and vice president of corporate marketing Jon Reingold, have also discussed revamping the “Where do you want to go today?” tagline. They believe the line may be outdated, and doesn’t say enough about the brand’s power, said sources.
The client, however, has questioned whether McCann-owned A&L, which handles an estimated $100 million in product ads for Microsoft, has enough creative firepower to handle the image work. It was not known whether other shops had been contacted to present ideas.
If McCann–pitching via its New York and San Francisco offices–is victorious with A&L, sources said the two shop’s Bay Area offices would likely merge, giving Microsoft access to McCann’s global network.
Microsoft is now mulling over McCann’s proposition, said a source, who added that a global network is very attractive to the company since it is planning to make a huge push for its Windows 2000 software.
Microsoft did not return phone calls. A Wieden representative would say only that the agency believes its relationship with the company is very strong. McCann and A&L executives declined comment.
–with Angela Dawson