The 869 to 1 Code

Dell just announced that it is set to spend $4.5 billion to set-up a new WPP Group advertising agency. The new firm, launching March 1st will be named Da Vinci and its goal is to crack the code of getting Dell back on top. The new agency will employe as many as 1000 once fully staffed according to reports. WPP already owns 250 agencies in 106 countries with 2000 offices and employees around 100K employees. Once fully functioning for Dell, the agency will be set free to go after other accounts. Interpublic Group was the other player vying for this opportunity.

Dell currently has business farmed out to 869 different firms. Mark Jarvis, Dell’s new CMO (What’s the average tenure of a CMO these days?) and Casey Jones, VP of Global Marketing, were two of the top executives leading the push for this change. The pair strongly believes that a single point of contact for all Dell’s activities will be a source of great results. This idea is met with mixed reviews from those in agency land.

The Austin American-Statesman article in regards to this story pointed out the fact that local/independent shop, T3, might lose a major client due to this change. T3 has counted Dell as one of its major accounts since the early ’90s. Jones was quoted, “Companies such as T3 will be able to pitch their work to Da Vinci which along with Dell’s team can award work to companies outside the WPP Group umbrella.” Gay Gaddis, President and CEO of T3, believes that due to long running relationship with Dell, their business is safe and that they will “still have a seat at the table”.

Why would Jones say that companies like T3 would be able to pitch their work to Da Vinci if T3 already had a seat at the table? I think a spot might already be reserved for GCI Group. This WPP owned firm already has an Austin-based office and is already working with Dell’s communications teams.

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