The world's largest PC marketer is terminating Bates Europe, London, its European agency, and is expected to also drop two other roster agencies: Euro RSCG Ball Partnership, Hong Kong, in the Asia Pacific region, and Hakuhodo, Tokyo, in Japan.
The moves should mean a green light for the "Change is good" global campaign under development at Ammirati, which already had more than half Compaq's billings. The campaign has the backing of David Middleton, VP-marketing and communications, who drove the agency review, along with Kathleen Harrington, director of worldwide advertising.
Compaq joins IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and other tech giants in hiring global agencies.
The switch is a blow to Bates, which is being spun off by Cordiant. But Bates executives in recent weeks had become increasingly pessimistic about their chances to snare the big account.
Ammirati has its work cut out to win over Compaq's European managers, who had close ties to Bates but didn't prevail in the U.S.-driven review. Compaq's long-autonomous European group has always called its own shots, staying with Ogilvy & Mather when U.S. counterparts fired the agency and hired Ammirati in 1991.
Compaq hired Bates in 1994 when O&M quit to take on IBM Corp. Ironically, the Lintas global network that IBM fired in '94 now will go to work for Compaq.
Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.