SAN DIEGO: In a move that shatters the traditional hi-tech client/agency model, Gateway made its long-awaited choice of PR firm last week, appointing Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger (SZ&M) to lead a PR charge that takes its cue from grass-roots political campaigns.
SAN DIEGO: In a move that shatters the traditional hi-tech
client/agency model, Gateway made its long-awaited choice of PR firm
last week, appointing Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger (SZ&M) to lead a PR
charge that takes its cue from grass-roots political campaigns.
Rather than hiring a single firm to handle its PR - the standard modus
operandi for PC giants - Gateway put SZ&M in charge of managing a
network of sole practitioners and boutique shops across the country.
While it may seem surprising for the company to trade a large
international agency like the Weber Group (PRWeek Aug. 23, 1999) for a
network of smaller shops, VP of corporate communications Brad Shaw said
that this model allows Gateway to focus on grass-roots brand-building
efforts in the much same manner that political campaigns do.
’We took a look at our needs and decided that we needed to create a
hybrid agency model that is as entrepreneurial, nimble and
well-connected as we are,’ said Shaw.
Rather than hold a formal review, Gateway relied upon its in-house team
to determine which agencies to contact. The company considered local,
regional and national consumer and hi-tech agencies before settling on
the hybrid model.
Shaw declined to comment on how many agencies and sole practitioners the
company will work with, or what geographic regions the company is
focusing on. Though he would not disclose the size of the account, he
acknowledged that its budget is smaller than the amount meted out to
In addition to identifying PR partners, SZ&M will be responsible for
maintaining the network, motivating those involved and measuring
The agency will also continue to work on special projects for the
company and represent Gateway locally.
’I’ve never known anything quite like this,’ said SZ&M chairman Gail
Stoorza-Gill. ’It’s very entrepreneurial and very innovative.’
She added that in assembling Gateway’s nationwide PR network, SZ&M will
look for firms and solo practitioners who share the company’s mind-set
of being close to the customer. The agencies selected will have a
combination of hi-tech, consumer and special events expertise, and will
be charged with identifying ways for Gateway to connect with the
In addition, Gateway has rounded out its in-house department by hiring
Staples director of PR Brad Williams as its director of consumer PR.
Williams, who had only been with Staples for seven months, is returning
to the West Coast, where he previously served as manager of product
publicity for Levi’s.
’Gateway isn’t timid about shaking things up and doing things
creatively,’ said Williams. ’Brad Shaw has been a catalyst in creating a
lot of changes and pushing innovation in terms of how the company