Intel Campaign Puts Celebrities In Your Lap

The online elements of Intel’s new ad campaign promoting its Centrino mobile technology will begin in earnest this week.

The campaign uses humor to show how a Centrino-powered laptop can bring your favorite entertainer to your lap — literally. The TV and print ads, launched last week, show international celebrities from movies, sports, or music sitting in someone’s lap where their laptop computer should be. Stars include actors John Cleese, Lucy Liu and Tony Leung; pro skateboarder Tony Hawk; soccer star Michael Owen; and singer Seal.

The online ads will be similar, implemented in Flash and streaming video on a range of Web sites, including America Online, Yahoo, VH1, NYTimes.com, and ESPN. Intel will also sponsor the popular tech-focused blogs Gizmodo and Engadget. The company will also use search engine marketing to drive users to micro-sites created specifically for the campaign on Intel’s Web site.

A centerpiece of Intel’s online strategy is a 24-hour homepage takeover on Yahoo, set for Thursday. The creative, featuring Tony Hawk, will be “fun, not particularly intrusive, and entertaining,” Sean Connolly, Intel’s worldwide director of advertising, told ClickZ News.

This campaign represents the first fruits of Intel’s relationship with its new agency of record, Interpublic’s McCann Worldgroup in New York. McCann Erickson created the TV, print, outdoor, retail and promotional advertising for the campaign that runs through the end of the year. McCann sister agency MRM handled the online work, and R/GA handled Web site creative.

It’s also the first campaign launched under Eric Kim, Intel’s new VP & GM of sales and marketing. Kim spoke at Advertising Week in New York last week about the challenges Intel faces as an “ingredient brand.” It must appeal to end users to create demand which will persuade OEMs to put Intel chips in their products.

“Our plan revolves around creating a master brand that’s highly targeted — to eliminate brand fragmentation and establish affinity with the Intel brand,” Kim said. “We use the end user campaign to create affinity with the brand, which convinces OEMs to go to market with our brand.”

The fragmentation results from the various technology and marketing groups working on separate chips. To counter that, Intel has turned to a single agency — McCann Worldgroup — to develop campaigns for its various brands, under a single master brand. The various campaigns will push the benefits of Intel’s chips for entertainment, mobility, or power, while keeping the overall Intel brand front and center.

Intel relies on different media to address the diverse audiences, with online playing a larger role in its business-to-business campaigns, and a smaller role alongside TV, print and retail channels for its consumer-facing campaigns, Connolly said.

Intel’s primary target is a consumer in the market for a new laptop. Connolly said laptop users tend to be more affluent, and more highly educated, and come in several sub-segments. Those groups include tech-savvy families, looking for a laptop as a second PC for the home; heavy travelers, who need a laptop for mobility; and style-conscious users who choose a laptop over a desktop PC for aesthetic reasons.

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