Microsoft realignment bulks up Anderson shop

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Microsoft Corp. has realigned its ad assignments, keeping its two signature accounts--brand advertising and Windows--at Wieden & Kennedy and handing almost everything else to Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco.

Anderson appears to walk away with more than half of Microsoft's estimated $200 million U.S. traditional and Web ad accounts, giving it a majority of billings for the first time since the software giant hired the two agencies in 1994.

"In the U.S., if you counted dollars, [Anderson] might be slightly larger ... but I would consider it a wash," said Rob Schoeben, director of marketing communications and Web development for Personal & Business Systems, the group responsible for Windows.

Mr. Schoeben and other Microsoft executives stressed the marketer is not favoring one shop over the other. The realignment, they said, is an outgrowth of a consolidation earlier this year of product groups that had been split among the two agencies.

"It just simplifies your life when you're only managing one agency [for a product group] across the work that you're doing," said VP-Corporate Marketing Jon Reingold.

Part of the realignment already was known, with the Interactive Media Group shifting all work to Anderson.


Anderson now picks up the Applications & Tools Group, including Microsoft Office, as well as responsibility for an image campaign touting business-oriented application "solutions."

Portland, Ore.-based Wieden lost its applications business and Microsoft Network. It picked up some assignments from Anderson, including Windows NT and Internet Explorer, as well as Windows CE, an operating system that was not formally assigned.

Anderson's Microsoft billings will grow by more than a third to an estimated $110 million, with Wieden having virtually the rest.

"We are happy with both agencies . . . We think they each bring something to the table, and we're trying to map the assignments to what they each do well," Mr. Reingold said.

Added Mr. Schoeben: "There's no message reading the tea leaves about one of the agencies being on the outs."

The agencies' work at times will overlap. For example, Anderson remains Microsoft's interactive media-buying agency of record, though Wieden will create online work tied to Wieden assignments.

Some work is coming full circle: Anderson handled Microsoft Office before losing it to Wieden in 1996.

Copyright July 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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