Streamlined AST Computer Selects Marketing

AST Computer in Irvine, Calif., has named Marketing And its lead agency, without a review.
The Culver City, Calif.-based shop has handled the computer manufacturer’s print, collateral and direct advertising duties for more than four years. AST’s previous lead agency, Anderson & Lembke in San Francisco, resigned the account in December.
“We became their natural choice,” said John Thompson, principal and executive vice president at Marketing And. “We were rewarded not only for knowing their business but for our performance.”
The agency picks up additional strategic and corporate ad duties, including broadcast advertising for the company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics.
“We’re relaunching AST with a new business strategy, and Marketing And best understands and responds to our needs,” said Dennis Trombley, AST’s director of corporate and marketing communications.
AST was acquired by South Korean Samsung last year, just before the economic crisis struck in Asia, and subsequently went through two rounds of significant layoffs.
Although the company did register consumer media expenditures of approximately $10 million in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting, A&L president Mike Windsor said his agency resigned the business because the advertising and marketing budget had dwindled to almost nothing. “I feel badly for AST,” he said.
Trombley acknowledged that ad spending this year will be significantly lower as marketing has been streamlined. He said the company is posed to relaunch the brand with new campaigns starting in the third quarter.
The addition of the AST account boosts Marketing And’s billings to nearly $30 million, Thompson said. The agency is also one of four finalists in the $4 million Smart & Final review, which is expected to be decided this week.