Gateway: Searching for the Right Advertising Agency
Gateway’s decision to change advertising agencies so many times over the past nine years was done because as the company grew they needed an agency that could bring them to that next level and help them identify their branding theme. As each existing agency did its part in helping them reach that goal, they moved to a bigger and better agency. Although they switch numerous times throughout the nine-years, it was only to their benefit to do so. Gateway recognizes that differentiation and brand image are very important in developing and sustaining a competitive advantage. However, Gateway has struggled to find an advertising theme that resonates with consumers and clearly differentiates the company from competitors such as Dell, Hewlett Packard, Sony, and Apple. In the process Gateway changed advertising agencies five times over the past six years and three times in a 14-month period from early 2002 to 2003. A week after dismissing DMB&B, the new CEO announced the hiring of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, one of the largest agencies in the world, as it new agency of record. The company also introduced a new logo featuring a hand-drawn version of its signature cow-spot box. Gateway’s attempt at increasing international sales was with the companies first outside agency Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis who was hired to handle its television advertising. In addition to Carmichael Lynch, Gateway had retained the services of the London-based Finex agency to handle its European and Japanese creative as the company’s sales in these markets were increasing. As Gateway 2000 grew rapidly and its international sales increased, the company decided it needed a global agency. In March 1997 the company moved its estimated $70 million worldwide account to D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, a global agency that could help the company with its growing international business. Gateway’s frequent agency switching has affected the...
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