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June 20, 2006: HP Goes Wide to Get Personal

Hewlett-Packard has launched a worldwide, integrated campaign with major online elements in an effort to boost PC sales.

Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently rolled out a worldwide ad campaign that canvasses the internet, TV, print and outdoor (billboards). This is HP's first-ever global marketing campaign for its Personal Systems Group (PSG) and the company is hoping that expending several hundred million dollars (HP declined to divulge total ad campaign costs) will not only help bolster PC sales (the company's worldwide market share is 15.7 percent according to research firm IDC; market leader Dell, Inc. has 18.2 percent), but will also help reinforce its approach to empowering users and enterprises.

The ad campaign is targeting PC users ages 18 to 34; on the business front, small to mid-sized companies.

Traditional, web and viral marketing elements are being utilized across a wide range of network and cable television, newspapers, grassroots efforts and numerous websites, some of which include Yahoo!, MTV, MySpace, MSN, WeatherChannel, CIO, Forbes, Entrepreneur, InfoWorld and CNet. It's a sea change in ad strategy for HP, as about 20 percent of the total ad campaign costs are being devoted to online endeavors, up four-fold from previous efforts.

San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GSP) created the campaign; about a third of the company's 300 employees have worked on it. The ad agency is also working closely with McCann Erickson in Europe and Latin America, and Saatchi & Saatchi in the Asia-Pacific region. Team members from the three companies meet/teleconference weekly to make sure that HP's message stays on point.

The campaign, dubbed 'The Computer is Personal Again,' kicked off with an introductory ad on May 9 that talked about the computer being personal and how one company is striving to make it personal, thereby setting up the campaign. It's being followed by a series of ads showcasing celebrities and business people. One of these features Olympic gold medalist and professional snowboarder Shaun White-- it debuted on May 17 during the NBA playoffs.   

According to GSP Account Director Nancy Reyas, iconic images of a hand will be a central theme as one of the campaign's goals is to make the PC a more powerful personal tool.

"We want to reinforce the personal relationship to the PC and show consumers all the different tasks they can accomplish with an HP personal computer," Reyas says. "It's based on the notion that the PC is autobiographical-- we have the celebrity figures talk about what's on their computer, what they do in their spare time and they also tell why the PC is personal to them."

One innovative aspect of the campaign involves MTV's college network, mtvU. A series of short, four-minute episodes on the "Meet or Delete" series follows college students as they determine if they want to meet-- based solely on the contents of their hard drives. The first episode aired on mtvU Uber at on May 10 and has since been seen across MTV's global network, including local channels in Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. 

To complement the programming, MTV, mtvU and HP have launched 14 regionalized "Meet or Delete" online hubs with episodes worldwide, unseen footage, interactive games, free music downloads, updates on previous cast members, casting calls and more at

Reyas says that HP is hosting a new website,, that has four distinct areas -- "Featured Products," "Viewing Room," "HP Total Care," (encompasses a complete lifecycle of services, tools and options for HP PC users, and will also serve as a framework for delivering customized service offerings to channel partners) and "Extras." "Viewing Room" has the ads; "Extras" is the link to MTV and where you can personalize the ads. 

HP indicated that the campaign will be rolled out in North America, Europe and Asia over the next six months.

Neal Leavitt is president of Fallbrook, CA-based Leavitt Communications, an international marketing communications company with affiliates in Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, and the United Kingdom.

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