Latest Compaq effort from FCB ready to roll

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After months of a dimmed media presence, Compaq Computer Corp. is nearly ready to turn on a new business campaign from FCB Worldwide.

The upcoming print effort from FCB's New York office-targeting the "C-class" of chief executive officers, chief financial officers and chief information officers-will be the second significant campaign FCB has handled since winning the $350 million account last May. Compaq approved the new campaign the night of Feb. 23, according to executives familiar with the situation.

True North Communications' FCB also is shifting business-to-business print work from its San Francisco office to New York, according to agency President Kelly O'Dea, who personally led FCB's global Compaq team until February. The team is now led by Jim Moore, executive VP-managing director and worldwide head of the Compaq account; Mr. Moore previously headed FCB Detroit's DaimlerChrysler global and domestic operations in Southfield, Mich.; FCB lost Chrysler Group last year.

Compaq did not return calls seeking comment.

Since FCB won the Compaq account from Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, the bulk of the creative business-to-business work was done out of FCB's San Francisco office. This was largely because FCB had only 30 days to staff the account, so the agency tapped people in the Silicon Valley area for their expertise in high-tech enterprises, according to Mr. O'Dea. FCB now will hire new creatives in New York and also transfer some employees from San Francisco, but he added a caveat: "We are trying to keep this as a very lean operation."

Compaq has had rocky relationships with agencies in recent years as the computer marketer has faced ups and downs and internal management shifts. In 1997, Compaq consolidated its global account with Ammirati Puris Lintas (now Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide), but the agency only kept the account for one year before DDB took over. DDB's run with Compaq turned out to be volatile, ending after less than two years when FCB won the business in May 2000, following a three-month review.

FCB's previous TV and print campaign for Compaq ran during a seven-week period last October and November with the tagline "Where do you find inspiration?" Compaq is keeping the "Inspiration" tagline.

Despite Compaq's difficult reputation, FCB executives insist the account is solid-at least now that the company has green-lighted a new campaign.

"The relationship with Compaq is excellent," said one agency executive. "It's the best since we won the account."

Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo

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