HP Launches Creative Review for PC Division

After Deciding to Keep Personal Systems Group, It Hunts for New Agency

By Published on .

A correction has been appended to this story.

Hewlett-Packard is on the hunt for a global creative agency to handle marketing for its personal computing division, the marketer told Ad Age . The company parted ways with Omnicom Group-owned Goodby Silverstein & Partners San Francisco, in November, and roster agency Twofifteen McCann has been handling the work since then.

A spokeswoman for HP said the company wants an agency partner to help drive worldwide strategy "because PSG's future is bright, and we want a new creative agency to help us tell the world."

Boston-based search consultancy Pile and Co. is handling the review and current partner agencies, Twofifteen, which handles regional work for HP, and Omnicom Group's BBDO , which handles corporate and printing and imaging work, will be invited participate.

Eric Keshin, HP senior VP-strategy and marketing, will helm the search, which has just gotten underway.

The $41 billion Personal Systems Group, which includes business and consumer PCs and mobile computing devices, has been the marketing star of HP for years, with popular consumer campaigns including "The Computer is Personal Again" -- a multi-million-dollar effort that tried to put the emphasis more on computers empowering users rather than focusing on attributes like speed -- and its celebrity "Hands" campaign that featured celebrities and athletes such as Serena Williams and Shaun White.

Satjiv Chahil, a former HP consultant, and David Roman, now the CMO at Lenovo, drove those marketing initiatives, but both left their roles in early 2010. Richard Gerstein then joined as senior VP-strategy and worldwide marketing, but changed roles and then left in August 2011. Mr. Keshin joined the company in March 2011 after a thirty-year career at Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann.

The Goodby split was blamed in part on management turnover and other indecisiveness on the client side. HP has had three CEOs in less than two years, with Mark Hurd controversially ousted in 2010, successor Leo Apotheker ousted in September 2011 after just 11 months on the job, and current CEO Meg Whitman stepping in then. The division, in fact, almost didn't survive those transitions.

In August of last year, Apotheker announced the company was considering spinning off the PSG division, but that was followed by the decision by Ms. Whitman in October to keep the business. She said at the time, "It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees. HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger."


An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Mr. Chahil is currently a consultant with HP. He is no longer with the company.

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