Toshiba Notebook Account Heads Into Review

LOS ANGELES-Toshiba’s notebook division has severed ties with its agency of two years, DGWB, and is putting its $20-30 million creative and media business into review. Howard Emerson, vp of marketing communications for Toshiba Computer Systems Group in Irvine, Calif., said he wants a shop that could “relate to our marketing direction.” He noted that the account will focus largely on specific products set to launch throughout 2002. Emerson, who joined the division earlier this year as part of a new management team, said the company would be open to a shop of any size in any U.S. region that does not have a computer-hardware maker as a client. He expects to have a new agency in place in January. The client had scaled back its advertising this year, spending $7 million during the first eight months of 2001, according to CMR; in 2000, it spent nearly $30 million. Emerson said the reduction came as the result of an industrywide dip in computer-hardware sales. He added the division is set to bring spending back to $20-30 million next year in support of the new Toshiba products. Emerson said the client has been parceling out projects to shops in recent months, but wants one to handle the entire account. He noted that Lyon & Associates, Encinitas, Calif., and Mezzina/Brown, New York, had each handled projects recently. Jack Vanden Brulle, general manager at Lyon, said only that he is interested in continuing his relationship with the client.A Mezzina/Brown representative could not be reached. Jon Gothold, principal at DGWB, Santa Ana, Calif., attributed the client’s move to two factors. “The people we had originally worked with [at Toshiba] left,” he said. “Couple that with the hits the industry has been taking, and this might be seen as inevitable.”DGWB still handles Toshiba’s Electronics Imaging Department, which markets its copy machines and has an ad budget of about $10 million. -with Sarah J. Heim