Compaq joins tech rush for identity consultants

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Compaq Computer Corp. hired Landor Associates, San Francisco, to lead a global brand study as the No. 1 PC maker and its ad agency--Ammirati Puris Lintas--ready a worldwide campaign.

Landor will scrutinize everything from Compaq's "brand architecture" to packaging, product names and collateral materials, said Andrew Salzman, a veteran consumer marketer who joined Compaq in November as VP-worldwide advertising and brand strategy.

PART OF A TREND

Compaq joins a host of tech companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Gateway 2000 and Acer America, that have hired identity consultants.

Mr. Salzman said Compaq expects to break its global brand campaign in the first half via Ammirati, the New York agency handling the estimated $200 million worldwide account. Landor "will work in close partnership with [Ammirati] as we continue to refine the branding campaign," he said.

MAY BE ON FINAL FOUR

He added it's possible the campaign will debut on the NCAA Final Four broadcasts. Compaq may tie the debut to some unspecified major product launch, seeking a media opportunity that corresponds with that, he said.

Compaq hasn't decided whether to break the campaign globally at once or phase it in by region.

Mr. Salzman said the computer marketer has decided on the campaign's strategic direction but not on a tagline.

The executive also said the resignation this month of two key executives--Roel Pieper, senior VP-worldwide sales, marketing, service and support, and Jim Schraith, VP-general manager of North American sales--will have no effect on the rollout of the brand campaign.

The resignation of Mr. Pieper, Compaq's top marketing executive, surprised company watchers, who said he'd given no indication he was leaving when he spoke recently about Compaq's ad plans.

Meanwhile, Compaq is planning to move the estimated $10 million to $15 million account of Tandem Computers, acquired last summer, to Ammirati from Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco, according to executives close to Tandem.

Mr. Salzman said the decision hasn't been made.

The naming of Landor, a unit of Young & Rubicam, parent of Y&R Advertising, has spurred speculation that Compaq may look beyond Ammirati. But Mr. Salzman categorically dismissed rumors of troubles between Compaq and its shop.

Copyright January 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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