Return to Firefly cuts PR spend for Compaq

Compaq, the world’s largest PC producer, has moved its consumer account from the Red Consultancy to hi-tech agency Firefly as it attempts to cut back its pounds 1 million PR budget. The move means an extra pounds 300,000 in fees for Firefly.

Compaq, the world’s largest PC producer, has moved its consumer

account from the Red Consultancy to hi-tech agency Firefly as it

attempts to cut back its pounds 1 million PR budget. The move means an

extra pounds 300,000 in fees for Firefly.



Firefly already handles Compaq’s corporate and technical PR and

consolidation into a single agency is seen as a cost-effective

measure.



The decision reverses the one made 18 months ago when Firefly lost the

consumer business to Red.



Hamish Haynes, consumer marketing manager at Compaq said: ’The PR budget

was getting close to pounds 1 million. For some work we were paying

twice over, so we looked at the bills and decided the PR spend was

becoming too large a part of the marketing budget.’



Haynes denied that Compaq is drastically cutting its PR activity . He

said that it is diverting some of Red’s fee money into additional

roadshows and other live events. The consolidated account is still

thought to be worth around pounds 500,000 in fees.



According to Haynes, the switch in consumer agency is also a reflection

of Compaq’s changing needs. Red was appointed to educate non-PC owners

through lifestyle titles. However, increased consumer awareness has made

this ’soft’ approach unnecessary.



Firefly will focus on raising consumer awareness of specific product

features on Compaq models.



Red will continue to work on an ad-hoc basis on European events for

Compaq which also uses Miller/Shandwick for pan-European work. Its

worldwide advertising account was recently switched from Bates Dorland

to Ammirati Puris Lintas.



Earlier this year Compaq expanded production at its Scottish plant in

Erskine which now employs 2,000 workers. It is a market leader in Europe

with 13 per cent of the market. Turnover in 1996 reached pounds 11

billion with profits of pounds 800 million.



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