Printers and PCs are just two of eight Hewlett-Packard accounts up for grabs worldwide as fiercely decentralized divisions reassess advertising.
"HP is at a crossroads," said Roger Wilson, director of corporate communications in charge of advertising and marketing in Europe. "We're looking at mass markets, consumer markets, digital imaging, whole new channels of distribution...It makes sense to do a check."
Saatchi, Hewlett-Packard's lead agency since 1988 with $130 million to $150 million in global billings, has the most to lose.
Saatchi, San Francisco, last fall brought in sister shop Team One, El Segundo, Calif., to work on printer creative. But Hewlett-Packard found the alliance unwieldy.
Now Hewlett-Packard wants "a fresh perspective," said Arlene King, ad manager for printers and peripherals.
Saatchi is in the review.
For printers, Hewlett-Packard wants a large agency, preferably West Coast but possibly Midwest, with experience in consumer and business-to-business advertising and in technology or consumer electronics. And Hewlett-Packard doesn't want the $40 million account to be more than 35% of an office's billings.
More than 100 agencies have contacted Mike Agate at Select Resources, the Marina del Rey, Calif., consultant running the review. Interested agencies include: Foote, Cone & Belding, Anderson & Lembke and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, all San Francisco, which have pieces of Hewlett-Packard global business.
Others taking a look include TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., and Ketchum Advertising, San Francisco.
Saatchi thought it had bagged the home PC account last week after a review with tiny Stephenz Group, San Jose, Calif. The division was indeed close to a decision and is believed to have been leaning toward a Saatchi/Team One bid when it learned about the printer review late last month.
Brian Burch, manager of marketing services at the Hewlett-Packard home PC division, said the home PC review may be reopened.
"We need to take in the events of the past week," he said.
PCs and printers often are sold in package deals, so the divisions might benefit from picking the same agency.
Hewlett-Packard gives near-autonomy to divisions and countries to call marketing shots, leading to eight accounts being up for grabs. That contrasts to the single-agency and campaign approach of rivals, including IBM Corp.
Saatchi still has close ties to key divisions. Jill Kramer, worldwide marketing communications manager for Hewlett-Packard's large-computer division, extolled the "strong" relationship in a talk Feb. 5 at an International Data Group conference.
Mr. Wilson said the European relationship also is vibrant. But Saatchi has to work: The agency is competing for a $10 million European PC assignment and just won point-of-sale.
Contributing to this story: Alice Z. Cuneo, Mark Gleason and Pat Sloan.
The HP way
Eight reviews are in the works at the world's No. 2 computer marketer.
Account Size Incumbents Status
U.S. printers $40 million Saatchi & Saatchi, San þFrancisco, and Team þOne, El Segundo, Calif. Decision within 90 days.
U.S. Pavilion home PCs $15 million to $20 million New account Division managers were leaning toward Saatchi in a pitch against þStephenz Group, San Jose. But division considering reopening re view in wake of printer review.
Information Storage Group $8 million FCB Technology Group, þSan Francisco Expected to go into review by April.
Printer supplies $6 million to $8 million New account Six agencies being considered.
Cable modems and set-top boxes To be determined New account Home Products Division evaluating different marketing alterna tives, including direct, co-op and media advertising.
European PC tactical campaign $10 million New account Saatchi & Saatchi, London, and four agencies competing. Decision þexpected within eight weeks.
European P-O-P project Unknown New account Saatchi & Saatchi, London, won following a review.
European Pavilion home PC To be determined New account HP may follow U.S. approach of relying initially on PR and promo tion, then stepping up advertising.
Source: Hewlett-Packard, agencies and industry executives