Cisco calls pounds 80m worldwide review

The US internet technology giant Cisco Systems is in talks with

agencies about its estimated pounds 20 million pan-European creative

business.



Although the talks are focused on the European account at the moment,

the review is expected to extend to incorporate the company's estimated

pounds 80 million global account. The review is being co-ordinated by

the AAR.



Srimath Agalawatte, Cisco Systems' director of marketing communications

for Europe, confirmed that there had been agency talks, but refused to

give any details. He said: 'A number of agencies are talking to us about

a number of different things.'



The talks are in their early stages, and the company is in the process

of drawing up a shortlist.



The company is looking for an agency that is part of a strong network,

although Agalawatte said: 'We're not really looking for any type of

agency specifically.'



Agalawatte denied reports that the company had put its pounds 4 million

UK corporate media planning and buying account up for review. Initiative

Media was awarded the pounds 20 million pan-European account in August

1999.



The US agency GMO/Hill Holliday is the incumbent on the business. Last

October it launched a campaign with the new strapline 'discover all

that's possible on the internet'. It replaced the brand's 'are you

ready' strategy, aiming to move on from evangelising the internet to

stressing Cisco's ability to help businesses become more successful once

the internet had been integrated into business models.



Cisco has suffered an 80 per cent drop in share price over the past

year.



John Chambers, Cisco's chief executive since 1994, recently warned that

he expects the downturn to continue for a further three quarters.



Based in San Jose, Cisco supplies more than three-quarters of the

world's switchers and routers, which link the internet.



It has traditionally targeted large corporations and service providers,

but is moving towards the small business and consumer arena. It is

attempting to take on other high-tech giants by developing new products

and services.



Cisco's repositioning is expected to be reflected in forthcoming

advertising, subsequent to the review.



A recent ad featured a confectionary store which was able to expand into

a chain because of Cisco's ability to grow business on the internet.



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