DELL REVIEWING WORLDWIDE OPTIONS: GREY, JWT, Y&R INVITED TO PITCH FOR PC MARKETER'S AD ASSIGNMENT

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Dell Computer Corp. is in discussions with ad agencies about consolidating its estimated $80 million to $90 million global account, people familiar with the talks said.

The red-hot PC marketer has invited proposals for what some believe is its international business, but others say is the entire global assignment. Grey Advertising, J. Walter Thompson Co. and Y&R Advertising, all New York, are pitching (AA, Aug. 4). BBDO Worldwide agencies had no comment.

A Dell spokesman would neither confirm nor deny discussions to consolidate the account.

"I would never comment on a change in strategy until we were ready to announce something," he said. "We talk to a lot of agencies" routinely about ideas and projects.

GOLDBERG IS LEAD DELL SHOP

Dell's lead agency is Goldberg Moser O'Neill, which handles the estimated $60 million U.S. account. Goldberg, formerly the San Francisco office of Chiat/Day, has seen Dell grow from $159 million in revenue when the account arrived in 1988 to $7.8 billion last year.

Dell uses other agencies elsewhere; Grey works on Dell's interactive business and its Japanese account.

Mike Massaro, Goldberg's chief operating officer and point person on the Dell account, wasn't available at press time. But another executive close to that agency said it also is pitching the non-U.S. business and hopes and believes the U.S. portion isn't in review.

The executive said Goldberg is pitching alone and not using the global network of its part-owner, Lowe Group.

Dell and Goldberg have grown up together, with the agency crafting an aggressive, scrappy and value-oriented image for the No. 1 PC direct marketer. However, Dell's needs are changing as it evolves from its mail-order PC roots into a full-fledged global business-computer powerhouse.

Bigger players, including Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM Corp., now are taking aim at Dell, whose efficient direct-marketing model has made it the envy of the industry.

Dell also has moved up-market by introducing workstations and servers, and is pushing into services and expanding globally.

Some senior Dell executives privately have said Goldberg's ad template-a product, a price, a snappy headline-doesn't convey the image Dell needs as it vies to grab business from its large corporate customers.

Contributing: Mercedes M. Cardona, Alice Z. Cuneo

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