TBWA is seen as favortie to pluck Apple in Europe

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In a major test of TBWA International's ability to expand its grip on Apple Computer around the world, the agency network has been left off the official pitch list for the $20 million European account.

Still, in a scenario reminiscent of TBWA Chiat/Day's recent win of Apple's U.S. account, TBWA is considered the lead candidate to win the business in Europe. At the least, TBWA is expected to create TV ads in Europe, while media buying and creative for other media would go elsewhere.

TBWA already appears to be picking up Apple business outside the U.S. It is expected to win Apple's ad business in Latin America and Canada. Apple Canada as early as this week could announce that its account is moving to TBWA Chiat/Day, Toronto.

BBDO Worldwide resigned the Apple account when the ailing computer marketer called a review last June.

In Europe, Apple will see final presentations the week of Sept. 22 from Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Leagas Delaney, both London; and BDDP, Paris. Francois Ruault, Apple's Paris-based advertising manager, confirmed those three agencies are the finalists for the account. European media buying group Carat is competing for the media account.

Apple's European management is believed to favor hiring one of the European networks for the print work, the bulk of the account in Europe, but is aware that U.S. management is likely to favor the appointment of TBWA.

"There are two scenarios possible," Mr. Ruault said. "The first is that the entire European budget goes to TBWA, which is what Chiat/Day has recommended. The second option is that Chiat/Day create TV ads for Europe or adapt their U.S. television ads for use in Europe, while one of the European agencies--or two, if Carat wins the media account--are selected to handle all non-television media."

Last week, Christofer Recker, Apple's Munich-based marketing and communications manager/Europe, was in meetings in the U.S. with Apple executives and Peter Economides, TBWA's worldwide director of patron clients, multinational accounts and worldwide new business.

David Roman, Apple's VP-advertising and brand communications, said that while he is not ruling out any agencies, everything has changed since the decision was made to move the U.S. account to TBWA Chiat/Day.

"There's been an element of change" in the European review process, said Mr. Roman, adding Apple currently also is "looking at the broader issue" of evaluating its internal marketing structure.

"In Europe, we are considering what is the best solution. TBWA is certainly one way of doing that," he said.

The European agencies were earlier assured by Apple that TBWA was not pitching for the European print account.

"We wouldn't have gotten into it if TBWA was going to be on the pitch list," said Bruce Haines, CEO of Leagas Delaney.

Added another executive at one of the contending agencies: "We will be as sick as dogs if [TBWA is] appointed without pitching."

The winning agency or agencies will be charged with reviving a brand that has seen its market share sink to less than 4% of the European computer market.

"The goal is to relaunch what has been a poorly exploited brand image, relying on fresh and lively creativity," Mr. Ruault said.

Contributing: Dagamar Mussey, Joanne Ingrassia, Laurel Wentz.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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