BURNETT WINS GATEWAY IN STEALTH REVIEW

Beats Out GSD&M for Computer Marketer's Account

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Personal computer maker Gateway today announced it has assigned its creative advertising account to Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

The Publicis Groupe agency and its LB Works and iLeo units worked with sibling promotions shop Frankel on a brief pitch in a stealth review. Burnett bested Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas. The entire review process lasted barely three weeks, according to executives with knowledge of the situation.

GSD&M confirmed it participated in the review but declined to comment further.

Chicago PC competitors
The move sets up what could be a

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Chicago-based PC competition, as Burnett rival DDB Worldwide, handles Gateway rival Dell. DDB is also part of Omnicom.

"We're glad to have Leo Burnett as part of our team," T. Scott Edwards, executive vice president of Gateway's consumer unit, said in a statement.

Mr. Edwards happens to be a former Burnett executive. He joined Gateway in January from Sony Electronics, where he was consumer segment marketing officer. Gateway is attempting to reverse plummeting sales amid a stagnant PC category and an eight-quarter earnings slide. Mr. Edwards wasn't immediately available to comment.

Change of pace
That the PC maker turned to two major advertising shops for the pitch is unusual, as Gateway Chairman-CEO Ted Waitt has tended to favor smaller, independent shops. Gateway has a reputation for bouncing its account. In October, the company switched its business to Omnicom's Arnell Group, New York, from Siltanen/Keehn, El Segundo, Calif., after just 10 months.

The company earlier fell short of signing a contract with Publicis' Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, after taking the brand in-house. Other agencies that have briefly landed the account are New York shops DiMassimo Brand Advertising, Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, and now defunct D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Gateway's new agency team will start work tomorrow in San Diego, said Bob Brennan, president of Leo Burnett Worldwide, Chicago. The team initially will develop retail and brand advertising, direct marketing and retail merchandising.

Poway, Calif.-based Gateway spent and $145 million in measured media through November 2002 and $187 million in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.