FUJITSU MAKES FRESH START WITH NEW ADS, NEW SHOP;$11 MIL EFFORT INTRODUCES LIFEBOOK LINE OF NOTEBOOKS

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Fujitsu PC Corp., after a seemingly false start in the summer, today reintroduces itself and some new products with a new ad campaign from a new agency.

Fujitsu will spend $11 million through March on a campaign running mainly in business and computer publications, from CKS Partners, Cupertino, Calif.

INTRODUCING LIFEBOOK

Ads introduce LifeBook, a line of sleek midnight-blue notebook computers for the business market. The name came from Lexicon Naming, a company that also coined Apple Computer's PowerBook.

Fujitsu PC opened in February as a U.S. arm of Japan's Fujitsu, the world's No. 2 computer maker. Facing a June '96 deadline to introduce products, Fujitsu quickly halted an agency review and turned to Lai, Venuti & Lai, a Santa Clara, Calif., agency that had worked with Fujitsu managers in an earlier relationship at Acer America. The result was a $9 million launch campaign for a U.S.-only notebook line now being phased out.

The new $2,299 to $4,399 line will be sold in the U.S. and Europe; CKS' ads will be offered to Fujitsu's European arm.

CKS, a finalist early this year, in the summer won an interactive project and in September scored the entire integrated account, including advertising, Web design, retail promotion and trade show design.

VP-Marketing Greg Chambers insists the earlier effort wasn't a false start and is all according to plan.

"When you start a company, you need a smaller agency that can move fast, is entrepreneurial and that you can trust to do good work," Mr. Chambers said. "LVL had all those qualities."

`AN ADEQUATE JOB'

The campaign "did an adequate job of announcing Fujitsu . . . [and] showing that it was in the notebook business," said CKS Account Director Melanie Branon.

The summer launch was a sales success, too. Fujitsu zoomed to fourth place in U.S. retail notebook sales in September with a 7% share, trailing Toshiba America Information Systems, Texas Instruments and IBM Corp., according to Computer Intelligence InforCorp.

Computer Intelligence analyst Matt Sargent said Fujitsu's early success came mainly because it got notebooks into stores when giants like Compaq Computer Corp. were having presumably short-term problems getting parts and meeting demand.

"It didn't take brilliant marketing [for Fujitsu] to establish themselves," he said.

It will take brilliant marketing for Fujitsu to reach its goal of landing in and staying in the top five with a 5% U.S. notebook share in 1998--and Mr. Chambers' goal to be in the top 3 beside Toshiba and either Compaq or IBM by 2000.

Fujitsu is making some moves that, while obvious, are often blown opportunities in the PC business: It got all but one of its new models to stores before today's announcements.

It's also simultaneously rolling out ads, in'store materials and a revamped Web site (http://www.fujitsu-pc.com); ads include print, outdoor boards and airport signage. TV advertising is being considered for '97.

'Built for Humans"

Creative tries to connect the parts-PC and human-using anatomical illustrations. Copy notes the human hand is "able to inflict massive amounts of damage when confronted with a poorly designed notebook," and explains the design features that make LifeBook superior.

The tag is "Built for humans."

"We certainly do not believe in doing esoteric advertising," said Ms. Branon. "We've worked with technology too long to know that doesn't work.

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