IBM-owned Lotus moves its estimated $40 million global account effective Jan. 1 to New York-based O&M, which has handled IBM's $600 million account since 1994.
HILL HOLLIDAY FIRED
Lotus fired North American shop Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, and eight other agencies handling global assignments. Hill Holliday, creator of the "Working together" theme, has been involved with Lotus since the marketer's start in 1982. The agency still will do projects.
O&M already handled some media work for Lotus, and it now will set up a dedicated group for Lotus media and creative.
Lotus went to O&M to get global advertising and make sure it's buying media as cheaply as possible, insiders say.
Lotus also hopes the shift will result in IBM steering more ad money toward the software marketer, one executive said.
NO TRIP TO `SMALL PLANET'
Ads for Lotus will get their own look. How long until ads feature IBM's "Solutions for a small planet" theme?
"A long time. Probably never," the executive said.
Keeping "IBM" out of Lotus communications seems at odds with Big Blue's centralized global branding strategies. IBM would presumably get some advantage by sending a single IBM/Lotus message to customers.
But IBM appears to be sticking with the commitment made when it bought Lotus in July 1995 to let the company keep its brand and culture. That is appealing to IBM computer rivals that would be less likely to do deals with Lotus if its IBM connection were played up, one insider noted.
There is a precedent: O&M took over advertising for Tivoli Systems after IBM bought that software company last year, but Tivoli kept its identity. Ads don't mention IBM.