Dell picks WPP to handle $4.5bn global ad account
LONDON - Dell has consolidated its global advertising account, worth $4.5bn in billings over three years, into Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP Group sending its shares up this morning.
The world's second-largest marketing services group will set up a standalone agency within WPP -- under the project codename DaVinci -- to handle the mammoth account, which previously spanned 800 different companies. It will employ about 1,000 people.
The account is worth around $150m in annual income to WPP. Shares in WPP were up this morning 2.4%, or 15p, to 629p.
WPP beat Interpublic Group in the final round of the review, which kicked off at the end of the summer. WPP and Interpublic emerged from a pack of five holding companies that also included Publicis Groupe, Havas and Omnicom.
In the US, Dell's creative duties were split between Mother in New York, which has handled consumer-directed duties, and Omnicom's DDB in Chicago, which had business-directed chores.
Mark Jarvis, Dell's chief marketing officer who joined form Oracle in April 2006, said in a post on a company blog: "By combining our agencies, we can invest in the long-term, in the people and tools to unlock far greater results than a patchwork quilt.
"We believe this is the first time a global client and agency have come together to redefine the 'agency' on such a scale."
Dell took the decision to consolidate its global advertising account amid fierce competition from its biggest rival HP -- which took the top spot in global sales from Dell last year -- and a desire to raise brand profile.
HP has continued to take PC market share from Dell in recent quarters, in spite of an aggressive turnround effort launched this year by Michael Dell, founder, chairman and chief executive of Dell.
WPP's first challenge for Dell will be supporting the computer maker's push into retail stores.
In a departure from a reliance on direct sales of computers over the telephone and internet, Dell has signed sales deals with several retailers, including Wal-Mart.
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