MICROSOFT SELECTS MULTICULTURAL AD AGENCIES

GlobalHue, Lopez Negrete to Target Small-Business Owners

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Microsoft Corp. has hired two agencies to handle ethnic advertising.

The Miami office of GlobalHue will handle duties for African-American advertising, while Houston-based independent Lopez Negrete will work on Hispanic advertising. GlobalHue and Lopez Negrete were selected following a review that began with 30 agencies and narrowed to 12, according to an announcement issued by the two shops.

Uniworld was incumbent
The two ethnic accounts previously were at UniWorld Group, New York, which is 49% owned by WPP Group. GlobalHue is 49% owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.

Spending on the two accounts was undisclosed, but the agencies are expected to begin by targeting small-business owners under an initiative of Microsoft's Diversity Marketing Communications Group, said John Doscher, an executive vice president at GlobalHue. The intent of the efforts is to help Hispanic and African-American small-business owners to use technology "to reach their potential," he said.

Other Microsoft reviews
The quiet review is among several Microsoft has taken in recent months to find agencies for a number of pieces of its business. Currently, consultancy Select Resources International is conducting a review for an estimated $15 million to $20 million direct-marketing account. The company also is conducting a review for an agency to handle customer retention and loyalty programs for existing subscribers to its MSN service.

In addition, the interactive portion of Microsoft's Xbox video-game business as well as Microsoft's PC-games business is in review, according to an executive familiar with the situation.

McCann-Erickson
The bulk of Microsoft's advertising is handled by Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco. "We are going to work closely with our new partners," said Michael McLaren, executive vice president and director of client services, who heads up the account at McCann.

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Tobi Elkin contributed to this report.

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