RealTime IT News

Gateway Drops McCann-Erickson

Computer manufacturer Gateway has dropped McCann-Erickson as its agency of record, ending a three-year relationship with the Interpublic Group agency.

Gateway, based in San Diego, Calif., left the New York-based agency for undisclosed reasons and is currently reviewing other agencies for creative work. McCann will still handle media planning and placement, according to Gateway.

The exact size of the Gateway account is not known; according to New York-based Competitive Media Reporting, a unit of Taylor Nelson Sofres, Gateway spent about $121 million on advertising during the first three quarters of 2000.

McCann-Erickson oversaw creative work for Gateway since April 1998, when it fired Los Angeles-based D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Last month, McCann debuted television spots, featuring Michael J. Fox, as part of Gateway's "People Rule" campaign.

But Gateway and its most recent agency seem not to have had the most stable of relationships. Last year, the manufacturer independently contracted with documentary filmmaker and commercial director Henry Corra to shoot TV spots that featured Ted Waitt, the company's founder, chairman and chief executive.

Nevertheless, a Gateway spokesman put a good face on the pair's association.

"We're still doing some work with them, so [the relationship] is good," said Gateway spokesman Greg Lund. "It was an amicable parting."

Lund declined to specify the agencies under consideration, and said he didn't have a timeline for when the review is to be concluded, but said the company hoped to have a new agency in place "as soon as possible."

The agency change comes amid market turmoil for the fifteen-year-old computer manufacturer. Like others in the consumer personal computer arena, Gateway is feeling the pinch of an apparent slump in consumer tech spending.

In January, the company missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations by a wide margin, after which Waitt -- who quit the CEO post last year -- returned to the company's top executive position and promised changes.