NEWS: SMI Group takes on networks to pursue pounds 20m Olivetti work

SMI Group, the UK-based hi-tech advertising agency, is taking on major international networks in a fight for the pounds 20 million pan-European advertising account of the Italian computer giant, Olivetti Personal Computers.

SMI Group, the UK-based hi-tech advertising agency, is taking on major

international networks in a fight for the pounds 20 million pan-European

advertising account of the Italian computer giant, Olivetti Personal

Computers.



SMI has linked up with World Writers, the international copywriting

agency, to take on the incumbents, Barbella Gagliardi Saffirio, which is

part of the Euro RSCG network, and Pirella Gottsche Lowe. Ammirati Puris

Lintas, which has also worked for Olivetti in the past, Leo Burnett and

the Italian agency, Lega, also pitched this week.



Alex Letts, the chairman of SMI, said: ‘We are challenging the concept

of the traditional network with a virtual network, using World Writers,

technology, our World Wide Web site and our special knowledge of this

industry.’



Olivetti Personal Computers, which was launched as a separate company in

January this year as part of a major restructuring at the parent, is

planning to double its 1995 advertising budget of pounds 10 million in

Europe (pounds 2 million in the UK). It is bidding to win market share

from rivals such as Digital, IBM, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard - which is

also reviewing its pan-European PC account.



The former Digital marketing chief, Robert Scott-Moncrief, has been made

marketing communications director at Olivetti Personal Computers and is

leading the review.



Scott-Moncrief told Campaign he would be embracing a through-the-line

strategy. ‘The aim is to support the business, not just in terms of

brand awareness,’ he said, ‘but also conversion levels.’ He added that

the first-stage presentations from agencies had now been seen and that a

decision would be reached by the end of the month.



All of Olivetti’s media was centralised into CIA Medianetwork last

summer.



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