CompuServe has dropped A Plus from the consumer-oriented Information
Services account that it won last October, and is hiring Harvard PR
instead. A Plus keeps the business-oriented Network Services account.
Harvard PR also does hi-tech consumer-oriented PR for Nintendo in the
UK. The appointment is as yet unconfirmed, but will probably be going
ahead ‘as soon as possible,’ according to Pauline Blakemore,
CompuServe’s new PR Manager.
CompuServe is also reviewing its UK Information Services advertising
agency, following an internal shake-up and the formation of a new
marketing communications department directed by Alan Lawson, who was
recruited two months ago.
‘We have a fresh team and a fresh look at our direction,’ says
Blakemore. ‘Not only where we’re going, but also how we’re going to get
Harvard account director Mark Casey will direct the CompuServe account,
alongside Harvard’s associate director Fraser Butters, who will co-
ordinate other projects. ‘This is an important account for us, so we are
putting our heavy guns on it,’ said Casey.
CompuServe is the best- known name in e-mail and Internet service, with
a worldwide customer base that this year reached 4.3 million, including
225,000 in the UK.
Although the company claimed its UK sign-up rate was 10,000 per week in
February, it actually made a net loss in total customers worldwide, and
lost money in the last year. After losing dollars 29.6 million,
CompuServe is cutting 150 jobs, delaying its final 80 per cent NASDAQ
stock market flotation, and has made other economies.
Surprised but undaunted, A Plus client services director Jonathan
Simnett claimed the company has already been invited to meet two
alternative Internet service providers. ‘We’re very proud of our
performance for CompuServe over the last year,’ he said.