Andrew Salzman, Compaq VP-worldwide advertising and brand strategy, said it's too early to determine what will happen to Digital's advertising, currently at DDB Needham Worldwide, New York.
But, he said, "We remain very committed to a singular, unified brand strategy and identity for Compaq."
Ammirati and DDB Needham "are fine agencies," Mr. Salzman said. "From Compaq's vantage point, we remain 100% committed to working with [Ammirati] and will work closely with the marketing people at [Digital] on how best to manage the communications needs of our merged entity" after the deal closes in three to four months.
For ad spending, the whole probably will be less than the parts: Compaq presumably will cut Digital's $140 million ad budget, dropping Digital's major brand ads and eliminating overlapping product lines.
DDB Needham hopes to retain Digital, which will operate as a unit of Compaq. But an executive close to Compaq and Digital said it's likely Ammirati will take over Digital advertising.
"Long term, I would expect [Ammirati] to get everything-long term being after July 1," by which time the deal should be closed, the executive said.
Compaq is now moving the estimated $10 million to $15 million account of Tandem Computers, acquired last summer, to Ammirati from Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco. That move had been expected (AA, Jan. 19); Anderson will keep some interactive assignments.
Compaq, the world's No. 1 PC marketer, agreed to buy Digital for $9.6 billion in cash and stock.
The loss of Digital would be a blow to DDB Needham, which won the consolidated account in July. A DDB Needham-created global campaign debuted in October.
Contributing: Laura Petrecca, Pat Sloan.