Dell adds integrated marketer SS&K

NEW YORK: Texas-based Dell Computers has added integrated marketing

shop Shepardson, Stern & Kaminsky (SS&K) to its roster for both

corporate communications and PR work.



The company already uses Fleishman-Hillard for corporate work. No one at

Dell would comment on how the work would be split between the two

agencies.



Though SS&K officially gained retainer status this month, it had done

project work for the computer company during the technology conference

Comdex last November.



Dell hit the headlines in February when it announced it was laying off

1,700 people. It was one of the first major US companies to make

recession-related staff cuts.



Chairman Michael Dell discussed his company's lay-offs with Time

magazine this month. In the story he admitted the company had hired too

many people.



The report included comments from former Dell employees who felt they

had been badly treated by the firm, though Dell admitted he 'screwed up'

by overhiring. Since the cuts announcement, Dell is beginning to hire

again.



SS&K has also picked up two pieces of business from Microsoft. The first

is a project for new software Office XP aimed at replacing the pop-up

paper clip icon. The Internet-focused campaign involves an extensive

viral marketing initiative and the creation of an unemployed Clippy

paper clip character among other marketing devices. The New York Times

covered the push in April 11 partly because it is unusual for Microsoft

to indulge in self-deprecating humor.



The campaign was put together by SS&K and the partners involved in a new

alliance called the Digital Trust.



Greg Shaw, West Coast partner and former Microsoft employee said: 'The

Digital Trust is a set of alliances involving digital marketing agency

KPE, Public Strategies International, a viral marketing firm called

Memetic, polling group PSB Online and the Web site

ModernHumorist.com.'



SS&K is working on a second piece of Microsoft business: the company's

Entertainment Solutions Group software, which targets healthcare,

financial services, retail and b-to-b sectors.



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