Concern at FCB as Compaq Moves Toward Assimilation by Hewlett-Packard

12 September 2001

Foote Cone & Belding, incumbent on the Compaq Computer account, is judged by insiders to be the network most vulnerable to loss of business if and when the PC-maker’s agreed takeover by Hewlett-Packard is completed.

According to these sources, FCB’s prospects don’t look good – in general because agencies working for the dominant partner in a takeover usually have the edge over their opposite numbers – and more specifically because H-P chief executive Carly Fiorina has already made it clear that HP will be the “surviving brand”.

She qualified this, however, with the cryptic comment that the merged H-P will deploy the “sub-brands of Compaq smartly”. [WAMN: 05-Sep-01]. Although one insider close to negotiations opined that “working out agency relationships would not be top of mind for Fiorina”.

H-P uses a raft of agencies, most of which have consistently conjured “brilliant advertising”, according to onlooker, ProBrand president Marty Brandt.

They include Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, which has the lion’s share of the estimated $160 million US business; while between them the Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi networks handle international image advertising; and Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco manages worldwide product and promotional work. Global media planning/buying dutiesis are entrusted to Publicis Groupe's Optimedia.

Meantime, executives at HP and Compaq declined to comment on the future of their advertising accounts.

News source: [10-Sep-01]