OPTIMEDIA WINS HP GLOBAL MEDIA BUYING BUSINESS

Goodby Remains Lead Creative Shop

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ending months of speculation, Hewlett-Packard Co. today said Publicis Groupe's Optimedia, San Francisco and London, was assigned the consolidated global media buying business for the newly merged HP and Compaq Computer Corp.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media, New York, which previously handled media buying for Compaq's advertising account, will now retain a small piece of business in Europe, where the marketer has a relationship with Formula One racing, said Gary Elliott, HP's vice president of marketing communications.

Ad spending exected to increase
The combined U.S.

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measured media spending of HP and Compaq Computer Corp. in 2001 was $275 million. The global budget for the new company is expected to be much larger. HP closed its $20 billion merger with Compaq on May 6.

Publicis' Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, and its overseas sibling shops, which handled broadcast buying for HP, will continue to perform media planning duties. Publicis will also serve as HP's global agency network responsible for products and solutions advertising. Publicis Dialog, an integrated marketing communications shop, along with Hal Riney, will work on HP's product advertising.

Mr. Elliott said Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, will remain the company's lead agency for global brand advertising and will continue to do brand media planning.

The decisions ended months of speculation over the company's post-merger agency assignments.

"Consolidating agency resources was an essential part of creating one brand and one voice for the company," Mr. Elliott said.

The consolidation occurred without a review.

However, Mr. Elliott said a direct-marketing review is currently underway. Interpublic's DraftWorldwide, which handled Compaq's direct business, is participating in that review; Mr. Elliott declined to specify other participants but said a decision will be made in mid-July.

Compaq's agency prior to the merger, Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York, loses what Compaq business it has in early August. Its FBCi interactive unit, which handled alliance and Internet advertising for Compaq, will continue to work on an estimated $75 million worth of combined HP and Compaq business.

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