Compaq Taps FCB, Keeps DM at DraftWorldwide

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Following an extensive agency review, the world's No. 1 computer manufacturer, Compaq Computer Corp., Dallas, chose Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, this week as its new worldwide advertising agency of record.

The account's overall annual billings -- estimated at $300 million -- are expected to include a new emphasis on reaching customers directly via the Internet. However, a spokeswoman said Compaq would keep its direct marketing services business with DraftWorldwide, Chicago.

In related news, Compaq also made public its choice of Hill & Knowlton, New York, to handle the company's global public relations.

Compaq said it would work with all its agencies to increase the company's role in online retailing as it extends its reach to more consumer and business-to-business customers. Although the company has long had a personal computing image, historically, it has derived the largest portion of its revenue from the traditional BTB sector.

Gary Elliott, vice president of integrated marketing communications at Compaq, said the company will accomplish its goals by tightening its focus on Internet relationships and by working more closely with partners that can help the company communicate how the brand delivers distinctive values and offerings to customers. He said the transition to FCB was part of that mindset.

"In recognition of the Internet's impact -- both on Compaq and its customers -- one of our top priorities was to identify an agency that is itself at the edge of the Internet revolution," Elliott said. "FCB has demonstrated the ability to develop and manage brands across borders and channels, both traditional and digital."

He also said FCB was intimately familiar with matching customers of all kinds to various products in the increasingly competitive technology sector.

"Equally important, the team at FCB has proven throughout the review process that they understand the IT category and Compaq's mission," Elliott said.

Commenting on the agency's new relationship with Compaq, Brendan Ryan, CEO at FCB, suggested the competition was about to be hit with some big surprises.

"In some respects, the tremendous array of Internet technologies, solutions and services that Compaq delivers to customers is one of the best-kept secrets in high technology -- but not for long," Ryan said.

That attitude was echoed at Compaq's new public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, where Howard Paster, chairman/CEO, claimed that "many companies talk about integrated marketing, but Compaq understands it."

Founded in 1873, FCB Worldwide is the world's third oldest advertising agency. The agency, which is owned by True North Communications, ranks No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 in the world.

Compaq, which acquired Digital Computer Corp. to help strengthen its overall industry position, competes primarily with Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA; IBM, Armonk, NY; and Dell Computer, Round Rock, TX. The company recently sold its majority share of the AltaVista search engine to CMGI, Andover, MA.

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