Bates Europe, London, created a campaign that is running in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, came up with an execution that is running in North America, Latin America and Japan.
Compaq plans to spend $60 million through the first quarter on the TV and print brand campaigns, and VP-Communications Jim Garrity stressed this will be a sustained effort. Compaq next year likely will pump some $100 million into the worldwide push. The computer maker, however, may trim its estimated $200 million global product ad spending slightly next year.
Compaq is the latest technology marketer to leap into global advertising and brand advertising as a layer above product ads. Putting the brand front and center with business buyers and consumers is part of the company's plan to become one of the world's top three computer makers by 2000. Compaq, with revenue last year of $14.8 billion, ranks No. 1 in PCs and No. 5 in the overall computer market.
Computer giants increasingly are hiring single agencies for global brand advertising: IBM Corp. employs Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York; Microsoft Corp. uses Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; Intel Corp. earlier this year consolidated at Euro RSCG, Paris. In contrast, Compaq splits advertising among four agencies: Ammirati in North America, Bates in Europe, Euro RSCG Ball Partnership, Hong Kong, in Asia-Pacific, and Hakuhodo, Tokyo, in Japan.
The company decided to use the agencies representing its biggest regions-North America and Europe-to develop distinct brand campaigns, Mr. Garrity said.
"We clearly were trying to develop a global campaign in an environment where we have a decentralized structure and multiple agencies," he explained.
The strategy was this: Portray Compaq as more than a PC or hardware maker, and show how Compaq supplies "total solutions" by embracing open standards and close relationships with "partners" like Microsoft, Intel and Electronic Data Systems Corp. Moreover, the clincher was to demonstrate how that macro approach allows Compaq to deliver the "lowest total cost of ownership."
Compaq realized that offering total solutions is such a common claim in tech marketing that "it doesn't get your juices flowing," Mr. Garrity said. "If you're going to save me money in the long run, that will get people's attention."
Compaq gave the two agencies' work to the other regions to test and decide which campaign they wanted to run. Japan and Latin America, picked the print portion of Ammirati's work for North America. Asia Pacific bought the entire Bates campaign, a print and TV effort initially developed to run in some 21 languages.
The copy in Bates' first ad is a direct lift from strategy: "When is the world's No. 1 PC company not just a PC company? When it provides total computing solutions."
Next year, Mr. Garrity envisions brand ads continuing to play off the current strategy-but targeting consumers. He believes that "total cost of ownership" can apply to home users, too.
Both Ammirati and Bates' brand ads share a stylized "@" icon underscored by the word "Access." The word, appearing in English globally, crystallizes "a willingness to share, a certain degree of warmth, an empowering sense," Mr. Garrity said. Over time, the icon will appear in product ads, packaging and point-of-sale materials worldwide.