INTERNATIONAL: Dell to marshal PR forces for pan-American account

AUSTIN, TEXAS: Dell Computers is staging a US pitch that would

consolidate PR work - currently farmed out to several agencies - into

one account spanning North and South America.

The work is said to be worth between £1.4m and £2.1m per


Coinciding with the US pitch, Dell has appointed Ogilvy PR Worldwide to

act as lead agency in Europe, with a brief to oversee and co-ordinate a

network of 22 firms across 81 countries - excluding the UK, which

continues to be handled by Fleishman-Hillard.

Dell EMEA director of communications Jerele Neeld saw nine agencies for

the account - led by tech practice head Simon Quarendon and global

corporate MD Rob Shimmin. Fees run into seven figures.

Neeld said: 'We are not consolidating down to one agency in Europe. We

have an established network, which is going to stay the same. We looked

for a lead agency which can help us with strategic counsel and


In the States, Fleishman-Hillard currently serves as Dell's agency of

record, mainly handling business-specific assignments.

Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky also handles various small corporate

communications briefs.

It is not expected that either of these agencies will be affected by the

US request for proposals (RFP), as it reportedly excludes corporate

comms and IR, which are largely handled in-house. Both agencies received

the RFP, alongside GCI Group and PR21.

A reorganisation of Dell's business units spurred the external

communications overhaul, said Dwayne Cox, who with Barry French directs

the Americas communications group.

Dell had previously been divided into customer groups serving mid-size

corporations, small- to medium-sized businesses, and the public


The new structure maintains such segmentation, but under a larger

geographic umbrella, Cox explained.

'What we are trying to do is consolidate, if possible, with one provider

for all our agency needs,' he said.

'We are doing everything we can to be cost-effective on PR,' added

Elizabeth Allen, Dell V-P of corporate communications.

Dell's communication staff underwent reductions in February and May.

A final selection for the US will be made in September.

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