HP consolidates global business into Publicis

The computer giant Hewlett-Packard is consolidating most of its global business into the Publicis Group.

The assignment represents the first major coup for Publicis since its recent enlargement through the acquisition of Saatchi & Saatchi. It follows representations to HP chiefs by Rick Bendel, the Publicis group regional chairman, who used the Saatchis takeover to press the case for consolidation.

HP is a shared client of Publicis and Saatchis. Between them, they account for about 40 per cent of the advertising for the world's second-largest computer manufacturer after IBM, which spent about dollars 500 million on global promotion last year.

Although Goodby Silverstein & Partners in the US remains HP's lead corporate brand agency, the Publicis group will run everything else.

The Publicis agency in London will become HP's communications centre for most of Europe, including the UK. Arrangements in other markets, including Asia-Pacific and Latin America, have yet to be finalised.

HP's switching of its global media account into the Publicis-owned Optimedia from Zenith Media, owned by Saatchis and the Cordiant group, has already sparked a row.

Cordiant is investigating claims that the business was poached and is threatening legal action that could give it control of Zenith for just pounds 1.

In the UK, HP divided its budget almost evenly between its two roster agencies last year, with pounds 7.2 million having been spent through Publicis while Saatchis handled pounds 8.7 million of business.

Allison Johnson, HP's vice-president for brand strategy and communications, said: 'The Publicis purchase of Saatchis, along with our strong existing relationship with Goodby Silverstein, has given us the opportunity to take the best of our agency resources and combine them into one powerful worldwide agency team.'

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