Dell Ad Takes Us Back to the Start

Even multibillion dollar corporations have New Year’s resolutions. What’s Dell’s? In the words of Liz Matthews, Dell’s executive director of corporate brand and purpose: “It’s about going back to our roots and celebrating Dell’s entrepreneurial spirit, as well as our customers’.”

The computer giant, which went private in October, is launching its first marketing campaign since the big announcement. The cornerstone TV spot of the “Beginnings” campaign will hit airwaves for the first time on ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve to an audience of tens of millions of viewers nationwide.

The campaign—a B2B-centric extension of Dell’s more consumer focused “Power to Do More” campaign—centers on the notion that great ideas can come from anywhere; what’s needed is passion, drive, and the will to take them further. The spot aims to demonstrate that no matter where an idea is born—whether on the second floor above a strip mall (Shutterfly’s birthplace in 1999) or a little room “over the pizza place at 315 Chestnut Street” (where TripAdvisor had its beginning back in 2000)—it has the potential to become something tremendous.

Dell itself was launched in 1984, when CEO Michael Dell started the company in his dorm room at the University of Texas–Austin.

As the commercial’s voiceover tells us: “At Dell, we’re honored to be part of some of the world’s greatest stories. Stories that began much the same way as ours did; in a little dorm room, number 2713.”

The companies featured in the ad—including Amerijet,, Skype, Under Armour, Whole Foods, Zoosk—all use Dell solutions and technology to power their businesses.

In addition to its TV and broadcast push, Dell will be leveraging digital ads, out-of-home, and social media. A print ad (see right) will run throughout January and February 2014 in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. All work was created by the New York office of Young & Rubicam and its partner agency VML.

According to Matthews, the move to launch on New Year’s Eve was made intentionally.

“It’s a new year and it’s a new Dell,” she says. “This campaign is a look back and an honoring of Dell’s roots, but it’s also looking forward and celebrating our customers—those who started with dreams and ideas that grew into industry powerhouses and have done great things not only for the industry, but for the world.”

Dell may no longer be based in a dorm room, but, as this campaign points out, dorm rooms and little rooms located over pizza places are sometimes more about a state of mind.

As Michael Dell tweeted to his more than 626,000 followers back in September:

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