With Branding Campaign, Gateway Replaces Agency

Just days after unveiling a new corporate branding campaign and logo, Gateway is changing advertising agencies, shifting the bulk of its work to the Arnell Group.

Gateway spokespeople confirmed the move of creative duties on the estimated $120 million ad account to New York-based Arnell, which is owned by ad agency holding company Omnicom , and which had served as a brand consultant on the work that ultimately debuted Monday.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Siltanen/Keehn had handled the account only since late-2001, and handled creative on the new “Better Way” campaign, which is aimed at highlighting the Poway, Calif.-based personal computer manufacturer’s focus on customer relationships, expanding product line, and on- and offline channels.

The campaign also introduced a new corporate logo and paved the way for new product packaging and Web site design.

“We worked with the Arnell Group during the last eight months as they helped us with the transition of our brand and logo,” said Gateway spokesman Greg Lund. “They played a real central role in the brand transition, and they appreciated the Gateway brand and … Gateway’s brand potential — that was really important to us.”

Lund said Gateway hasn’t necessarily ended its relationship with Siltanen completely, but said the next campaign — slated to air prior to the holiday shopping season — was designed entirely by Arnell.

Siltanen/Keehn oversaw the company’s late-2001 rebranding effort, centered around ads showing Ted Waitt, the company’s founder, chairman and chief executive, working with a talking Holstein cow to develop the best PCs and offers for consumers. The work sought to tie back into Gateway’s beginnings on Waitt’s Iowa farm in 1985, as well as to re-establish a folksy, down-to-earth rapport with customers.

Spots for the campaign ran for more than a year, including during the Winter Olympics in February.

In April, Siltanen/Keehn also undertook a series of “issue” ads for Gateway, which sought to weigh in on controversial Congressional legislation limiting consumers’ rights to copy music under the current “fair use” laws. Ads in that effort for the company, which sells a computer setup targeted at music-lovers and fans of CD-burning, showed Waitt and the cow enjoying a CD burned on a computer, and encouraged consumers to get more information on the digital music rights issue.

In addition, Siltanen/Keehn designed ads for the company’s “back to school” promotion in July, and a month later, also crafted a campaign that sought to boost sales of Gateway’s Profile 4 PC by comparing it to Apple’s popular iMac line.

Gateway has had a tumultuous relationship with its advertising agencies for more than a year. In February 2001, it parted ways with McCann-Erickson just a month after rolling out new TV spots as part of its short-lived “People Rule” campaign. While the company put a good face on the split, some close to the account say that the PC maker had proved a difficult client — for instance, in 2000, the company independently contracted with documentary filmmaker and commercial director Henry Corra to shoot TV spots featuring Waitt.

The resulting agency review saw Gateway award its account to Fallon, but the two companies failed to agree on terms — prompting the account to go to Siltanen, which had been a finalist in the review.

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