Savvis Sees Opportunity in Scandal

Seeking to strike with a message of fiscal responsibility while its competitors are down, the Savvis Corp. is holding a review of five agencies for a fall branding campaign, a client marketing executive said.

Savvis, which has dual headquarters in St. Louis and Herndon, Va., provides managed network services to corporate clients and touts itself as “The network that powers Wall Street” because of its numerous financial accounts.

Savvis is talking to eDesign in Herndon; Don Schaaf & Friends, Washington, D.C.; and Waylon Ad, Core and Schupp, all in St. Louis, said Lee Rubin, associate vp of marketing.

The agencies are scheduled to make creative presentations July 26, with a decision expected shortly thereafter, according to Rubin. Turnaround time will be short, as Savvis wants a campaign by September.

Savvis’ competitors include several com panies that have taken a battering because of questionable financial practices, including WorldCom, Global Crossing and Qwest. Their troubles led Savvis to decide it was time to promote its own relative financial well-being, said Rubin.

“We think there’s a tremendous opportunity with the meltdown in the telecommunications field right now,” Rubin said. “Right in this moment, there’s a real lack of trust in the industry.”

But the strategy is not to launch attack ads at competitors. “We do not plan on naming names, pointing fingers or anything like that,” Rubin said.

Although it posted a loss of nearly $300 million last year, Savvis has secured $178 million in funding in the last six months to pay down its debt and is enjoying strong revenue growth. Those facts, along with a message about strong customer service as competitors slash staff, figure to be part of the advertising message, Rubin said.

The media mix will consist of publications favored by brokerage firms, networking publications and the general business press, including the Wall Street Journal, according to Rubin.

Spending was estimated by Rubin at $1-2 million, in addition to a localized effort in St. Louis, where the company has naming rights to the city’s hockey stadium, the Savvis Center. Advertising there will attempt to “put a face on Savvis,” Rubin said.

While Savvis has done some previous advertising, this will be the com pany’s strongest branding push to date, Rubin said.