HP Builds Digital Replica of a Real Mountain Climb

The “hands” that helped make HP “personal again” have been put to new use in the next phase of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ campaign for the computer brand. This time the setting has shifted dramatically, to Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Starting January 7, HP spokespeople including actress Jessica Biel, musical acts Kenna and Lupe Fiasco, and Jacque Cousteau’s granddaughter Alexandra will climb the peak to raise awareness of the global clean water crisis.

Kenna inspired the effort, but it was the agency’s job to weave HP into the mix. It did so in a way that created an extensive digital footprint mimicking the mountain trek.

“We worked with the client to intertwine HP technology into the climb,” said Goodby creative director, associate partner Will McGinness. “In particular, HP will provide the climbers with notebook computers that will allow them to post videos, photos, tweets, and other real-time data to a Web site where the world can follow their journey and lend their support.”

The site McGinness speaks of, SummitontheSummit.com, is a virtual incarnation of Kilimanjaro itself, built 16,709,709 pixels high to match the height of the mountain (19,340 ft.). “The goal was to create a visceral real-time experience where people can follow the climbers up Mt. Kilimanjaro and show their support for the cause,” said Goodby creative director Jim Elliott. “On the site people can also learn about the crisis, make charitable donations and even sponsor a foot of the climb.”

Goodby worked with digital partner and fellow San Francisco firm Number 9 to create the experience. McGinness said the trickiest part is yet to come. “We have a tech team that will be joining the climbers to help orchestrate the real-time data capturing and the process of uploading it all to the site.”

Though there are still several weeks to go until the climb begins, Goodby feels there’s enough content already to drive people to the site. Goodby is rolling out humorous web films to tease the climb, which cam be seem on YouTube and other video sites.

“[It’s] a fictitious account of an inane training program where the climbers are subjected to the strange teachings of a supposed mountaineering legend, Randy Sweets,” said McGinness.

Along with the webisodes, on November 23 the agency will unveil what it claims will be “the tallest banner ever” on sites like MSN.com and MTV.com as well as in the Interactive One Network. Just like the Web site, the banner ad is 19,340 feet high and lets you scroll up and down in similar fashion.

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