Three Digital Shops Pitch Portion of Intel Creative

Chip Maker Seeks Ideas for B-to-B Business; Incumbent Venables Declines to Participate

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Tech giant Intel today said it has asked a trio of digital agencies to pitch ideas for the business-to-business portion of its creative advertising account

The incumbent on the account, independent Venables Bell & Partners, San Francisco, which also handles Intel's brand advertising and was responsible for the "Sponsors of Tomorrow" platform, declined to take part in the process, though it was asked to by the client. Venables declined to comment on the matter.

According to Intel spokesman David Dickstein, three agencies are participating in the review: Interpublic Group of Cos.' MRM, Omnicom Group's Tribal DDB and Publicis Groupe's Razorfish. Venables will continue to handle the consumer portion of the account, which is not part of this review, and neither are media duties, currently with Omnicom's OMD.

Said Mr. Dickstein: "These are the lead agencies within their holding company" being asked to pitch, and "they may be tapping into other groups within their network." He added: "We are not using a search firm; it's all internally driven."

Intel spent $57 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. The company had dropped TV advertising altogether two years ago but is now back on TV. And earlier this year, it ended a decade-long absence and returned to the Super Bowl with a spot that kicked off a campaign for its 2010 Intel Core Processor. The campaign was described as Intel's biggest product launch in the past five years.

Venables, which was named to Ad Age's 2009 Agency A-List, won the Intel account in 2008 and has since driven strong results for the software giant. The "Sponsors of Tomorrow" effort began with a commercial and online video that humorously portrayed USB-maker Ajay Bhatt as a rock star. The video had 1 million hits on YouTube in its first week.

Last week the chip maker reported third-quarter revenue of $11.1 billion, an 18% increase over the same period last year.

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Contributing: Kunur Patel

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