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Intel Centrino effort touts ‘unwired’ life

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Intel Corp. last month launched a global advertising campaign for Centrino, its new mobile computing platform, targeting business and information technology decision-makers.

Centrino is a breakthrough product for Intel because the technology involves more than just a processing chip: Centrino includes a mobile processor, related chipsets and wireless networking capabilities. It’s designed to help manufacturers build a new generation of mobile notebook PCs.

The campaign, developed by Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York, includes TV, print, online and events. Its budget was not disclosed.

The Centrino campaign, aimed squarely at the b-to-b market, broke March 3 in advance of a March 12 product release date. Its tagline is "Unwire."

"It’s quite a different strategy from previous launches because of the nature of the technology," said Shawn Conly, director of worldwide advertising for Intel. "If you look at what is happening in the marketplace and how people are using PCs, [usage] crosses the personal and professional sides. People are doing business work and personal work in an intermixed fashion," he said.

Intel faces some challenges in this new territory.

"Intel is new to the communications sector," said Julie Ask, senior analyst at Jupiter Research, a division of Jupitermedia. "Traditionally, Intel has been about faster, better processors. There are different challenges for developers of chipsets for mobile computers," she said, pointing to technology obstacles such as limited battery life.

Intel also faces competition in the mobile market from chipmakers such as Texas Instruments Inc. and Broadcom Corp. However, Intel has the advantage of a strong brand and aggressive marketing, Ask said.

The campaign’s TV ads show businesspeople computing from unexpected places, such as a diving board, a golf driving range and an open-air sightseeing bus.

Ron Berger, CEO of Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York, said the "Unwire" campaign taps into the emotional benefit of being unwired. "In a world where technology is all around us, we often live in a balance of ‘Are we getting too much?’ and ‘Are we too wired?’ Clearly, the biggest benefit by far [of the Centrino technology] is you are no longer wired to a wall working on your computer."

While TV ads communicate the broad themes of freedom and mobility for businesspeople offered by Centrino technology, the print and online ads are more specific about product benefits, including information about features designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs and mobile performance.

An eight-page print execution broke March 12 in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today, with copy reading, "Intel has a message for the wired world: Unwire." The ad promotes benefits of unwiring—"untangle, uncompromise, unburden and unstress"—along with feature benefits including wireless LAN capabilities and more computing power.

Ads broke April 1 in business publications such as Fortune and Business Week, and in IT trades such as PC Magazine and CIO. These ads explained even more specific technology features and benefits.

Events and online ads

In addition to print insertions, Intel will sponsor a 64-page special issue of Wired magazine in May; the title will be "Unwired." It will feature content about wireless computing and contain ads by Intel and its original equipment manufacturer partners. The special issue will be wrapped with Wired and distributed to approximately 500,000 Wired subscribers.

The campaign also makes heavy use of online ads. Intel now has exclusive premier placement on CNet.com and CBSMarketwatch.com, running large-format ads that include in-depth content about wireless technology.

Events played a significant role in the launch. The product debuted in Tokyo on March 12, which is the first time Intel has launched a major product outside the U.S. This event was followed by a "follow-the-sun" rollout that day in Hong Kong, London and New York.

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