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Intel Looks Beyond McCann Erickson for Brand Ideas

Move Suggests a Fraying Relationship With Agency of Record

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Intel Corp. is reaching out to advertising agencies beyond McCann WorldGroup for "brand positioning" ideas. Executives familiar with the situation said Intel's marketing team is specifically soliciting ideas for its new Core 2 Duo processor.
Intel, whose ad agency of record is McCann WorldGroup, is asking other agencies to pitch ideas for its Core 2 Duo processor account.
Intel, whose ad agency of record is McCann WorldGroup, is asking other agencies to pitch ideas for its Core 2 Duo processor account.

$300 million
Pitches are being made to Eric Kim, Intel's chief marketing officer, in the next several weeks. Intel spends $300 million and its global ad account has been at the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency since March 2005.

That Mr. Kim and members of his marketing team are contacting agencies outside of Interpublic suggests that the McCann/Intel relationship is rocky. Mr. Kim is "unhappy and impatient" with McCann, said one executive familiar with the matter. Another executive suggested he's "playing stalking horse with McCann."

Idea and strategy
But another knowledgeable executive said the company is essentially "paying for an idea and a strategy" that will be executed by McCann WorldGroup, which remains agency of record. McCann is also pitching ideas.

McCann referred calls to Intel. A spokeswoman for Intel said that "Interpublic's McCann is our agency of record. It is our policy not to comment on rumors or speculation."

Agencies contacted by Intel include Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide and BBDO Worldwide, as well as WPP Group's Berlin Cameron United and Young & Rubicam, although not all of those contacted are pitching ideas, said executives familiar with the matter. None of the agencies would comment.

Former AOR praise
Mr. Kim joined Intel in late 2004 from Samsung. After selecting McCann, Mr. Kim praised the holding-company system, citing ease of negotiation and flexibility. "We will now have many other entities that may be of value on a project basis. We're already set up rather than having to go back and negotiate a new deal each time," he told Advertising Age in March 2005.

A McCann-created campaign, which features celebrities sitting on the laps of regular-Joe computer users, launched in eight countries in September 2005. Stars include Hong Kong actor Tony Leung, England's John Cleese as well as Americans Lucy Liu, skateboarder Tony Hawk, and most recently, Mariah Carey.
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