Shandwick jettisons Compaq for rival HP

NEW YORK: Shandwick has traded one hi-tech giant for another, ending its 17-year relationship with Compaq to take on Hewlett-Packard’s newly consolidated worldwide PC business.

NEW YORK: Shandwick has traded one hi-tech giant for another, ending its 17-year relationship with Compaq to take on Hewlett-Packard’s newly consolidated worldwide PC business.

NEW YORK: Shandwick has traded one hi-tech giant for another,

ending its 17-year relationship with Compaq to take on Hewlett-Packard’s

newly consolidated worldwide PC business.



Shandwick has been charged with all IR and PR duties for HP’s worldwide

Business PC Organization (BPCO), which includes every division producing

and marketing business desktop computers, notebooks and thin-client and

PC servers in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. The

agreement takes effect November 1, giving Shandwick enough time ’to

clean everything with Compaq out of their system,’ said Andrea Bass, PR

manager for HP’s North America Computer Products Group.



On the surface, Shandwick’s decision to dump Compaq for rival HP might

seem puzzling, since most estimates put the former company’s annual

billings at somewhere near dollars 12 million (as opposed to the

estimated dollars 6 to dollars 10 million HP business). Industry

insiders, however, said the agency-client relationship had been

crumbling for at least three years when Compaq first reportedly started

flirting with other firms. Also, the computer giant has been beefing up

internal PR staff in recent months, perhaps a sign that agency projects

were being scaled down as part of cost-cutting initiatives introduced by

new CEO Michael Capellas.



The official company line at Compaq positions the split as amicable.

’Shandwick has given us outstanding service for the past 17 years, but

we are a new company now,’ said senior manager of worldwide media

relations Alan Hodel. He added that finding a replacement agency was not

a top priority.



Shandwick’s US CEO Michael Petruzzello said that the firm would not be

closing its Houston branch or laying off any staff, despite the fact

that Compaq had been by far its largest client there: ’We’re committed

to Texas and to serving the Southwest.’



As for HP, the move to Shandwick signals a company wide shift to a more

centralized marketing model. Until now, the business PC account had been

parceled out to a handful of different agencies, most prominently

Alexander Ogilvy and Copithorne & Bellows. BSMG Worldwide and Cunningham

Communications also handled some work.



Alexander Ogilvy EVP Holland Carney said her firm had already resigned

the NetServers part of HP’s business and bowed out of the worldwide PC

pitch because of a conflict of interest with parent company Ogilvy PR,

which handles IBM in Europe and Asia.



C&B, which participated in the pitch for the BPCO account, said the loss

isn’t a devastating one. ’We’re still HP’s corporate agency of record,’

said senior partner Steve Jursa, adding that C&B still has HP’s printer

and telecom business, as well as its Open View software group and

several divisions that are set to become part of spin-off company

Agilent on November 1.



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