It may be one of the most protracted contract negotiations in the history of advertising, but CDW, the Vernon Hills-based computer reseller, finally sealed the deal Tuesday -- naming Ogilvy/North America as its agency of record. Interestingly, the appointment press release says Ogilvy/Chicago will be lead shop on the account, but other Ogilvy shops, most notably flagship Ogilvy/New York, will work on the business as well. That suggests CDW wasn't exactly comfortable putting all its eggs in the Ogilvy/Chicago basket -- given its shaky track record in recent years. Not that Ogilvy/New York, or Ogilvy in general, has much to crow about either.
One thing should be stressed about this win. While it will provide welcome revenue for Ogilvy, CDW will not be a showcase account that demands breakthrough creative. So don't look for it to help elevate Chicago's slumping image as a place that produces great advertising.
After we first broke the news that Ogilvy was likely to land the account, months passed before the deal was finalized, as the agency and CDW dickered and dickered -- and then dickered some more -- over the nuts and bolts of the contract. From what we hear, CDW was anxious to ensure that they got what they needed from Ogilvy for the lowest possible dollar amount. Call it nickel-and-diming by CDW. Or just prudent business practice.
But this is the way it goes now in the advertising world, where countless agencies have so devalued their images and their services that they can be forced to do whatever a potential new client wants. And aren't just about all American agencies absolutely starved for new business? You bet.