The move comes as Dell breaks its anticipated new TV branding campaign this month, from Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco.
Rapp's Dallas office won the estimated $10 million to $12 million account for Dell Direct, the division that sells to small businesses and individuals. The agency, a unit of Omnicom Group, will work on direct mail and activities such as customer relationship and loyalty programs.
Rapp prevailed in a review that included Wickersham Hunt Schwantner, Boston, and incumbent Lieber, Levett, Koenig, Far-ese, Babcock, New York, according to people familiar with the review.
Dell's longtime ad agency, Gold-berg, helped with the search.
FOLLOWING AGENCY BREAKUP
Dell Direct went into review after the contentious breakup involving its former agency. Top executives at Dell shop Lowe Direct, New York, bolted last October to form Lieber Levett.
Lieber Levett withdrew midway in the review. There has been speculation that an alliance between Lieber Levett and Hewlett-Packard Co. agency Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide presented a conflict. Saatchi & Saatchi and Lieber Levett co-pitched and won business for Delta Air Lines earlier this year and entered an alliance to work together on accounts needing direct and general agency service.
Lieber Levett also is rumored to be pursuing the $10 million-plus account of Power Computing Corp., a mail-order Macintosh clone marketer that has hired several key Dell executives. Power has been without an agency since ad boutique Bam, Austin, Texas, resigned the account in April.
Rapp referred calls to Dell, which declined to comment. Lieber Levett and Power weren't available at press time.
Dell's first TV brand campaign is the work of Goldberg, and is part of an ad offensive that could boost Dell spending by $20 million or more (AA, May 5, et seq.).
The TV push will be paid for largely through co-op money from Intel Corp.
Dell last year spent $41.6 million in U.S. computer and business publications, according to Adscope, and $1.2 million on a direct-marketing TV test, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The burst of advertising could give another boost to the booming company. Sales for the world's No. 1 PC direct marketer soared to $7.8 billion last year from $5.4 billion in '95. Dell's U.S. market share in the first quarter grew to 8.8% from 6.1% a year earlier.
Dell now trails only Compaq Computer Corp. in business desktop PC sales.
Dell's move into TV comes as rival Gateway 2000 readies its first full global campaign from new agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Los Angeles, and Compaq readies its global brand campaign (see story on Page 10).