HP Adds Users to Ads

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Hewlett-Packard Co.  is running a viral interactive element in its "The Computer Is Personal Again" campaign using video platform Personiva's technology to create commercials starring users.

The "Lights. Camera. You" feature redirects users to the www.personiva.com/hp/index microsite. There they upload a personal photo and create a commercial starring themselves featuring their interests from a list that includes sharing photos, listening to music, traveling, IM and gaming.

"We're really sort of experimenting in out-of-the-box ways to generate interest," said Michael Ainscow, personal systems group worldwide creative lead at HP, Palo Alto, CA. "It's a soft way of saying our message. We are reinforcing how important the computer is in your personal life."

Personiva uses face recognition and digital compositing to create the personalized ads in real time. The San Francisco company plans to work with Levi and Warner Brothers soon and may expand to personalizing ads for a user's language, ethnicity and product versions.

The personalized ads blend content from HP television commercials, which feature icons including "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett and rapper Jay-Z. These also can be viewed online. HP chose these "movers and shakers" to expand its brand and shed light on how public figures employ computers for personal use, Mr. Ainscow said.

The use of celebrities got blog attention for the campaign. Several bloggers created their own ads and posted them. Personiva lets the videos be shared through e-mail, IM, cell phones, photo and video share Web sites and blogs.

"I think [the popularity of a viral component of campaign is] not something you can control but it's something that we hoped for," Mr. Ainscow said.

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