EDS MAY POUR $80 MIL INTO 1ST GLOBAL CAMPAIGN;SPENDING SOARS TO REFLECT GROWING BUSINESSES

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Electronic Data Systems Corp. begins its first global ad campaign Oct. 1, with spending next year expected to skyrocket to as high as $80 million.

That would make EDS one of the world's largest business service advertisers.

Fourth-quarter '96 spending is estimated to be just $3 million to $5 million.

ADAPTING TO GROWTH

The diversified information services company, split off from General Motors Corp. in June, is stepping up activity to reflect its growing businesses-and growing competition.

The campaign starts with one TV commercial airing in the U.S. on business-oriented cable shows. Ads will appear in coming weeks in business magazines, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Print also will run in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Versions of the TV commercial will run in Europe and possibly Asia.

A bigger launch than the current one had been expected. But EDS is believed to have cut the budget as part of corporate cost controls after EDS made a colossal $500 million payment to GM during the splitoff.

For next year, however, EDS is believed to be considering an $80 million global budget. The budget has not been approved and may end up below that.

EDS Director of Advertising Bruce Odza and agency Bates Worldwide, New York, would not discuss spending.

ONE THEME BEING USED

The campaign pulls together all global advertising under one theme, "A more productive way of working."

Most ads will talk about customer "success stories." Some will run broadly, others in narrow trade magazines.

"There can be a case for us being in almost any medium," Mr. Odza said. "We hope that as a matter of course we are evaluating all of the media all of the time....If somebody has an idea we may not have thought of, we're always willing to listen."

Because ads are about specific services, the big picture for EDS doesn't necessarily come through in any one ad.

HARD TO DEFINE

"We do so many different things for so many different people. It's very hard to define," Mr. Odza said. "If we can create a widely held perception that EDS can harness the power of information to help our customers do extraordinary things, we will have accomplished something."

EDS hired Bates in February after a review.

The account is based in New York, but more than 40 offices worldwide are involved in the campaign.M

Contributing: Mark Gleason.

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