Euro Replaces Digitas as IBM's Global Digital Agency

Havas Shop to Create Online Brand Experience, Social-Media Strategy

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- IBM is shifting global digital duties on its $1.25 billion ad account to Havas' Euro RSCG from Publicis Groupe's Digitas, the tech giant's lead digital agency for more than a decade.

John Kennedy, VP-corporate marketing at IBM, cited Euro's "deep digital expertise," as well as the agency's "broad global footprint and a strong track record," for its decision. "We are confident that adding Euro to the mix in a lead role will further enhance our digital capabilities and presence," Mr. Kennedy said.

George Gallate, global chairman of Euro RSCG 4D, and Alex Bombeck, president of Euro RSCG 4D Discovery and global brand director on IBM, led the agency's pitch out of North America. The move concludes a review the marketer quietly conducted over the past few months with roster shops, executives familiar with the situation said.

The appointment means an expansion of Euro's relationship with IBM, for which it has been handling e-mail marketing and relationship marketing for several years.

All projects currently handled by Digitas will now transition to Euro. Among other things, Euro will be tasked with creating digital brand experiences and developing social-media strategy. It will work with WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, where IBM consolidated global ad duties back in 1994, and Mindshare, IBM's media agency of record.

"[IBM] will probably be our biggest digital client globally," David Jones, global CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide, said of the win. IBM is the latest in a string of digital accounts Euro has swept up this year, including global digital duties for Jaguar as well as business from Sprint and Lacoste.

In 2008, IBM spent $446 million on domestic advertising, according to Ad Age's DataCenter, ranking 81st on a list of top 100 national advertisers. Globally, IBM spent about $1.25 billion, a figure that's crept up a bit since 2006, according to the company's annual report. IBM operates in more than 170 countries.

For Digitas, the move to Euro means saying goodbye to a client of more than 10 years. Some of Digitas' recent work for IBM included product microsites and a service-oriented content hub for global CIOs, based on IBM research. The agency declined comment for this story, referring all questions to the client.

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Kunur Patel contributed to this report.

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