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(April 5, 2001) -- Gateway's estimated $250 million media review will be drawing to a close very soon, according to executives involved in the review.

Media buying and planning had been handled by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann, New York, until the San Diego-based computer marketer pulled its creative advertising account away from parent McCann-Erickson after a review in February and brought it in-house.

Gateway has been looking to switch the media account when it began its creative review. At the time, Gateway had been in negotiations with Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, to handle creative, while the media business had been expected to go to sibling media shop Zenith Media, New York. But after discussions broke down completely between Gateway and Fallon and the marketer brought its creative in-house, the company began looking at other media shops. The list includes the incumbent shop, Universal, as well as sibling Initiative Media and Havas Advertising's Media Planning Group, New York.

According to an executive close to Gateway, the company had considered bringing its media buying in-house but abandoned the idea. Gateway had handled its own media buying when it was launched eight years ago. The company then moved that business over to MediaVest when DMB&B (now D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles) won the creative account in 1997.

Gateway sent out a one-page request for proposals to agencies earlier this year. The company did not ask many questions of the shops invited into the fray; it simply laid out its expectations. "They don't want any fancy media talk about tools and gizmos," said an executive involved in the review. "It's all going to come down to the chemistry." -- Richard Linnett

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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