Andrew Salzman, who abruptly resigned July 15 as VP-worldwide advertising and brand strategy, said DDB Chairman-CEO Keith Reinhard is working directly with Compaq Chairman Benjamin Rosen on the campaign, which is meant to communicate Mr. Rosen's turnaround plan.
Mr. Reinhard said he met earlier this month with Mr. Rosen and both executives are actively involved in developing new work. He said the new ads will mark an "evolution" of the current campaign, but declined to reveal specifics.
'FULL RESOURCES' OF AGENCY
"I would say that this is clearly a critical, strategic initiative," Mr. Salzman said. DDB is "directing the full resources of the entire company," he said, to produce a campaign built around the general theme of "non-stop computing." That theme is meant to impart to business users the "availability, scalability, manageability and security" of Compaq systems, Mr. Salzman said.
The executive made his comments the day after he resigned. Veteran Compaq executive David Middleton, whom Mr. Salzman said would replace him on an acting basis, was not available late Friday. A Compaq spokesman did not return calls at press time, and it was unclear whether Mr. Salzman's comments reflected the company's views.
According to Mr. Salzman, the new campaign will include TV, print, outdoor and, in some markets, radio, with the integrated effort played across the world. The campaign is expected in September.
"The relationship has never been stronger, and we're very much eager to work with Ben Rosen on the advertising process," Mr. Reinhard said.
'CRITICALLY IMPORTANT' ADS
Mr. Salzman said the new ads are "critically important" to Compaq. "DDB has a task to deliver truly outstanding work," he added. "Nothing else would be acceptable."
Prior to his exit, Mr. Salzman said his marching orders to DDB were to "put the amount of effort into it that they would put into a new-business pitch. . . . They have some promising ideas that are worthy."
The departure of Mr. Salzman, and his comments about a new campaign, follow a year of unprecedented tumult at Compaq. Just a year ago, Compaq bought Digital Equipment Corp. and stunned the ad world by hiring Digital agency DDB to replace Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, as global agency.
As Compaq struggled to integrate Digital and to develop a direct-marketing strategy to counter Dell Computer Corp., Compaq's powerful chairman stepped in earlier this year to fire President-CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer. Mr. Rosen since then has staged a major reorganization, sold off Compaq's AltaVista Web business and set to work on a turnaround-all before hiring a new CEO.
STRUGGLING FOR APPROVAL
Some executives said New York-based DDB has struggled to get work approved in Compaq's bureaucratic structure. Mr. Salzman said he pulled the most recent campaign, intended as an interim effort, within the past two weeks because "the overall judgment is the campaign didn't meet expectations." But he said he has heard no discussion inside Compaq management about looking at other agencies.
Mr. Salzman said he tendered his resignation after becoming frustrated with overall progress at Compaq; the company asked him to leave immediately, he said. The executive said he's evaluating two Internet-related posts in California, as