Dell continues PR revamp with corporate RFP in play

AUSTIN, TX: With another major RFP on the market, Dell Computer is

in line to hire a PR firm for corporate communications work by the end

of February.



A corporate communications RFP had been rumored since shortly after Dell

awarded GCI Group its $2 million-plus Americas PR account in

September.



Through that contract, GCI supports manufacturing and sales for various

product and customer groups in the US, Canada, and Latin America. It is

thought that Weber Shandwick Worldwide was GCI's closest competitor for

that business. It is not known if either agency is lining up for this

next review.



At about the same time, Dell awarded a contract to Ogilvy PR Worldwide

to coordinate efforts of more than 20 agencies in Europe, the Middle

East, and Asia.



The new RFP seeks a firm to help with corporate PR strategy and

reputation management, as well as financial media relations primarily in

North America, said Barry French, Americas communications director.



Dell sent the RFP to a select few firms in December. French wouldn't say

which firms were contacted, but noted that "a Texas office was not a

requirement." Although French said Dell's PR spending varies, he doesn't

expect the corporate communications business to be quite as lucrative as

GCI's current contract.



The shakeup in Dell's external PR relationships followed last year's

reorganization of the company's business units.



Fleishman-Hillard had served as Dell's agency of record for almost a

decade before last summer's agency review. California's Walt & Company

Communications continues to provide PR council to Dell's enterprise

group, which makes computer servers and storage devices.



The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Dell's "aggressive

pricing" has helped it increase market share and maintain its leadership

status as a PC vendor.



Many analysts are expecting to see more consolidation in the PC sector,

possibly led by the potential merger of HP and Compaq, the WSJ

reported.



In November, Dell reported a net income of $426 million, with

$7.2 billion in revenues, for the third quarter of 2001.



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