With B-to-B Campaign, Intel Shifts Print Dollars Online

Intel has expanded its “Multiply” ad campaign for the Intel Core 2 Duo processor with an online effort targeting IT pros. The company has increased its online investment in the B-toB advertising to the tech crowd by 10 to 20 percent, according to VP Integrated Marketing Nancy Bhagat, and much of that money came directly out of the print budget.

“2006 was a pivotal year for Intel marketing, for our use of online and our approach to interactive. We really started investing much more heavily with what we’re doing online,” said Bhagat, who added Intel’s Web spending with regard to that demographic now amounted to ‘a higher percentage than any other medium.”

Intel’s Multiply campaign, created by McCann Worldgroup, features sets of cheetahs running at viewers and a “Google Maps” style landscape of a processor. But to make the advertisements stand out, McCann added a layer of CGI style interaction with the banners. Specifically, when a viewer moves the cursor around their screen unassociated with the advertisement, the cheetahs will move their heads to watch or bat at it, and the processor map allows viewers to focus in on pieces of it to learn more about processor specs.

“We looked to push the envelope in the online banner space, so we combined 3D CGI with the interaction,” said Alana Rose, VP and group director for McCann Worldgroup. “We’re really just trying… different things with Intel, because they are very supportable of that.”

Ads will run in “the standard Web sites targeting IT,” said Bhagat, with an emphasis on North America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, South America and India.

And while the Multiply campaign is the main thrust of advertising to this particular target segment, Intel has quietly launched its own version of an in-joke for IT managers in hopes it will go viral. With the help of communications agency Owen Jones and Partners, Intel has developed a Web-based widget available at Pebkactranslator.com.

The phrase PEBKAC stands for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair,” and is slang for IT managers being asked less than intelligent computer questions by their clients. The Pebkactranslator is a Flash animation that will “translate” an IT manager’s predictable answer to such questions into a more acceptable format, said Bhagat.

“You input your own version of ‘go take a leap’ and it spits out a politically correct version of that,” she said. “It’s developing an emotional connection in understanding the frustration that IT is going through, which helps our relationship with building a brand with the IT community.”

The Translator itself features a “machine” with alternating devil horns or angel halo that spits out questions like “I haven’t been feeling well today. I think my computer gave me a virus. Is that possible?”

Although the Translator features branding for Intel’s vPro chips, the company is not actively spreading the word about the site. Instead, they first reached out to the Flash developer community to discuss the combination of the Flash front-end tied to a query database of answers, according to Rusty Grim, creative director and partner at Owen Jones and Partners, and then just let things spread by word of mouth.

“When you do something viral you have to respect what that means. You have to release something in a way that is not overly heavy handed. People can smell a fake when you try a viral attempt,” said Jones.

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