Intel details WPP AOR breakdown

SANTA CLARA, CA: Semiconductor maker Intel has, for the first time selected global agencies of record.

SANTA CLARA, CA: Semiconductor maker Intel has, for the first time selected global agencies of record.

he $38.8 billion company has selected WPP to manage its PR around the world, with Burson-Marsteller coordinating as lead agency in the global network.

Intel will work with Burson in the Americas, Hill & Knowlton in Europe, and Ogilvy PR in Asia, said Claudine Mangano, PR manager for Intel global communications.

Intel made its decision late on Friday, February 10, so details are still being negotiated, said Mangano.

Intel has declined to discuss which agencies, or how many, it worked with prior to the consolidation.

As Intel works with several agencies around the world that are currently engaged in PR initiatives, the WPP network will take the reins over the course of the year. Mangano said Intel will continue to work with other firms as needed, but WPP will be its global agency network.

"This network will complement our own efforts toward integrated messaging, and will provide an external perspective," said Mangano. "The combination of these three agencies provided the best strategic and global solution." Search firm Select Resources International managed the search, led by senior partner Dan Osborn.

Mangano declined to divulge billings, or other finalists. However sources close to the search said the other finalists were Cohn &Wolfe, GCI Group, the Hoffman Agency, and MS&L.

Sources have also indicated that the review is the largest tech PR review -- and one the largest PR review overall -- in recent years, based on its global scope.

The decision comes as Intel culminates a year spent transformation its marketing and PR teams with a massive revamping of its brand and identity.

The company has tweaked its logo, and has eschewed the well-known "Intel Inside" mantra for "Leap ahead."

The new branding aligns with Intel's new business strategy, the company has said.

That strategy moves Intel away from talking about semiconductors and more about what the technology enables users to do. Intel introduced this new business strategy with its wireless platform Centrino, and will continue with its digital media and lifestyle technology platform Viiv.

The shift to focusing on, and talking about, platforms instead of individual semiconductors, such as the Pentium chip, is a fundamental change in Intel's business strategy.

"We're still going to talk about our long history of innovation and technology that changes the way people live and work," said communications manager Bill Calder, when Intel unveiled the new branding in January. "But now it's more about the experience, and what the technology does for you. It's not just about the technology itself. And PR plays a critical role in talking about that."

The new brand and messaging will certainly be the first endeavor for Intel's new PR agencies.

The new brand and business focus comes as the company faces stiffer competition, particularly from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). AMD now has its highest market-share position against Intel in several years. The company's processors are now in 21.4% of all desktop and notebook computers, and servers, according to CNET Media. Intel's other rivals include Texas Instruments and Freescale Semiconductor.

Many industry analysts have pointed to the arrival of Eric Kim, SVP and CMO, in November 2004 as the beginning of Intel's makeover. Kim is largely credited with having helped turn Samsung into a global consumer electronics brand.

In March, Intel awarded its global $300 million advertising account to IPG.

And in May, Pam Pollace stepped down as VP and director of corporate communications. She has since joined Edelman as head of its global technology practice.

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