HP Touts Post-Merger Possibilities

Six months after its highly publicized and scrutinized merger with Compaq, Hewlett-Packard began a global advertising campaign last week expected to be a several-hundred-million-dollar, multi-year effort.

“This year you will definitely see an increase in spending compared to what we did in the second half of 2002,” said Karen Jones, HP director of brand advertising. “Our spending will definitely be comparable to what our competitors are spending. We will continue to run this branding effort for a while.”

The effort includes print, television, online and outdoor media. It features vignettes showcasing ways people and businesses use technology today and the role that HP plays in people's lives.

The campaign introduces the theme “everything is possible” and an equation device — (customer) + hp = everything is possible — to communicate HP's focus on partnership. Jones said the theme should not be viewed as a tagline, but as a closing thought on the campaign.

“It grounds what we are doing in reality,” she said. “It is not presenting some lofty ideas of what we will be able to do in the future. The campaign is based in fact and shows what we are making possible in our customers' lives today.”

HP is not trying to reposition itself, she said, but instead is stating “our position about who we are and what we're about” in technology. “There is the image of HP as the printer company and Compaq as the PC company, but that's not the whole story. We want to paint a picture of what our capabilities are and what we are delivering in the marketplace.”

The campaign began with a 16-page insert in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. Ads also appeared in last week's Time, Newsweek, Business Week and The Economist.

Each ad highlights the way HP customers use its technology. The first set of ads showcases how HP helps Hollywood studio DreamWorks create a “new generation” of animation; assists NASA; helps FedEx in package delivery and helps birdwatchers in Finland record the GPS location of rare birds.

All ads contain a short paragraph about what HP's technology has allowed the user to accomplish. Each is followed by a specific Web site. The Web address for the Dreamworks ad, for example, is www.hp.com/plus_dreamworks.

On each of those sites a link is provided back to the customers' and HP's home page. At HP's home page a consumer can get information on the products HP has available for its various customer segments, including enterprise, small and medium business or home. Links to demonstrations, information and pricing of those products also are available.

It is already designing the next wave of customer testimonial pieces that will begin appearing early next year.

The effort runs in North America and across Europe, Asia and Latin America. TV spots will appear on national broadcast and cable channels. The online effort will consist of banner and pop-up ads on Yahoo, Cnet.com, ESPN and ABCNews.com, among others. Those ads will contain a link to HP's home page.

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