AD AGES

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HOW COMPAQ'S PFEIFFER OPERATES

So how troubled was the Compaq/Ammirati relationship? Bad enough that Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer & directors spent time in board meetings bemoaning Ammirati's work. Pfeiffer was primed to move when Digital shop DDB Needham pitched and won the account. Pfeiffer & DDB now must work to change the image of Compaq from the world's No. 1 PC maker to the world's No. 2 overall computer maker. Pfeiffer restaged Compaq once -- in '91, when he became CEO, Pfeiffer fired O&M and turned Compaq into a maker of low-cost, low-margin PCs. He was decisive then on the agency front: Two minutes into Ammirati's pitch, Pfeiffer & Chairman Ben Rosen halted the meeting and called in their lieutenants. Ammirati won Compaq by presenting a strategy that happened to be wholly in sync with Compaq's "skunkworks" development of a cheap PC -- just as DDB this year presented a strategy and campaign dead-on with where Pfeiffer wants to take Compaq. One footnote: Compaq's regional direct biz could stay at Ammirati Puris Lintas despite DDB/Omnicom desires to take it. Compaq seems happy with that APL work, and direct always has operated independent of Compaq's global advertising. For now at least, APL keeps the biz.

Bozell to Jeep: Go to Hell

Jeep and agency Bozell donated a "Welcome to Hell, Mich." sign to the tiny Upper Peninsula burg, the star of a Jeep Grand Cherokee wintery spot. The commercial used a computer-generated Hell, Mich., sign, but the not-so-hot town now has an official sign -- right outside the Devil's Den liquor store.

A bumpy ad that didn't fly

Panasonic PC Co. and Renegade Marketing Group, pushing Toughbook PCs in the new "Take it" print campaign, figured United, American and Delta inflight mags were the ideal place to run an ad paying tribute to the deaths-by-air-turbulence of lesser notebooks. The airlines refused, apparently seeing little humor in an ad with the headline, "The airline gave my business the chair." Says Renegade prez Drew Neisser: "Just because Panasonic Toughbooks take it doesn't mean the airlines will." Bet Drew gets bumped next time he flies.

Winkler flies . . . copycat Cole

Winkler was on board at Reno Air before Winkler was on board at Reno Air. The deal: The SF agency just won the airline account, but boss Agnieszka Winkler has been a Reno Air board member since 1994. . . . Ziff-Davis is opening a sales office in Detroit to go after car ads. . . . The first parody of new Levi's ads is out. "Kenneth wore them, too," says an outdoor pitch with red type, a white background -- and a Kenneth Cole logo. The ad was created in-house. . . . Peter Sealey had an easy job in the mid-'60s as asst. brand manager on Crisco: He could reach 80% of women ages 18 to 49 with three 60-sec. spots on daytime soaps. What would it take now? The marketing consultant and ex-Coke exec, speaking at the ANA's Biz-to-Biz Mktg. Comm. Conf. in Fla. last week, figures he'd have to run 97 prime-time :30s to get that reach. Not that anyone bakes or uses Crisco anymore.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Jean Halliday and Anthony Vagnoni.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or e-mail, brad@crain.com.

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