Cisco starts $25 mil hunt for interactive and direct

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Cisco Systems is searching for one or more agencies to handle its interactive and direct marketing needs.

The review follows speculation that the networking giant was looking to move its general advertising account, estimated at more than $60 million for the Americas alone, from GMO/Hill Holliday, San Francisco (previously Goldberg Moser O'Neill), its agency since 1991. GMO, which hasn't held any Cisco interactive work, is not involved in the interactive review.

"We are not doing a reveiw for the advertising part of our business," said Susan Bruijnes, senior manager-advertising and direct marketing at Cisco. "We are continuing with GMO, with whom we've had a nine year relationship."

Cisco, the world's No. 1 Internet networking provider, engaged Brotherton Consulting Group, San Rafael, Calif., to conduct a review aimed at increasing Cisco's existing direct marketing and interactive efforts, said Jack Brotherton, president.

"Cisco is growing at an incredible pace, about 140% per year, and it needs additional resources," Mr. Brotherton said. "This is simply to augment existing direct and interactive capabilities."

Mr. Brotherton said Cisco is looking at between six and 12 agencies for the account, which will spend about $25 million. He said the spending would be awarded either to one agency with capabilities in both arenas or to two shops, one for interactive and one for direct marketing. He confirmed Deutsch, Los Angeles, is being considered for the interactive portion, but would not list the names of other shops participating in the review.


Cisco's interactive work was part of its relationship marketing assignment, currently at Miller/

Huber Relationship Marketing, San Francisco, which will continue to work on that portion of the business, an executive familiar with the situation said. Cisco has worked with Razorfish, San Francisco, on a project basis.

GMO has helped Cisco craft its pre-eminent position in the marketplace, delivering the now ubiquitous "Are you Ready?" campaign with its "Empowering the Internet Generation" tag.

Recently, Cisco has promoted the fact that most of its business and internal operations are run on the Internet.

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