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Gateway changes its marketing spots

update The direct PC seller is revamping its logo and marketing to further downplay its bovine heritage, but the company says it is not killing its sacred cow.

update Direct PC seller Gateway is revamping its logo and marketing to further downplay its bovine heritage, but the company says it is not killing its sacred cow.

Debuting Monday as part of a remake of the company's Web site and advertising, the new logo features a stylized G inside a single cow spot. The logo will also replace the cow spots on the company's PCs; however, Gateway will keep the spots on its boxes, albeit with a new styling.

Gateway's ad campaign, which for much of this year had featured a talking cow conversing with founder Ted Waitt, will now focus more on the company's products and customer service. Its new tag line will be "A better way."

Gateway says the new logo and marketing effort are designed to depict the company as more hip and technologically savvy.

"'A better way' is more than just a tagline, it's a promise to our customers that when you come to Gateway, you'll get better products, value, service, support and an overall superior customer experience than you will among any of our competitors, both direct and at retail," Waitt said in a statement. "We've worked hard to build a company that can deliver on that promise, and now it's time to start telling the world."

Gateway, which moved its corporate offices from South Dakota to San Diego in the late 1990s, has evolved its look on a number of occasions, including changing its name from Gateway 2000 to just Gateway as the new millennium approached. The company introduced its cow-spotted boxes in 1991.

Changes to Gateway's box design. The new image will show up immediately in Gateway's advertising, including two new TV ads, and will begin showing up on new PCs late this year. Shaw declined to say how much the rebranding effort will cost. The letter G in the new logo is actually the symbol for "power on" turned on its side.

In one of the new TV commercials, a man gets frustrated while getting the runaround trying to buy a PC at an electronics store. The commercial ends with the customer, now happy, walking into a Gateway store.

The New York-based Arnell Group, which helped create Donna Karan's DKNY brand, was a consultant on the new marketing effort, Shaw said.

The launch of the new marketing effort, which was eight months in the making, was designed to come ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season, said Brad Shaw, senior VP of marketing and corporate communications.

"This is our biggest, most important selling season from a consumer selling point of view," Shaw said.

The visual remake comes as the PC maker is trying to reverse a trend of slowing sales and mounting losses. Co-founder Ted Waitt returned as CEO in January 2001 and quickly replaced most of the company's upper management.

Despite suggestions that it might be ripe for a takeover, Gateway has maintained that it is not for sale.

Earlier this month, the company announced that Roderick Sherwood III was taking over as chief financial officer, replacing Joseph Burke, who is moving into a business development position.