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Orignal Post: 7 p.m., Feb. 14 | Last Update: 1:30 p.m., Feb. 15
Intel Corp. on Feb. 19 unleashes a $300 million global ad campaign supporting its Pentium 4 microprocessor,

This time, Blue Man will do it in orange for Intel
initially with three 30-second TV spots breaking on network broadcasts.

The campaign, created by Intel agency Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, features performance artists Blue Man Group in TV and online ads with the new tagline: "The Pentium 4 processor. The center of your digital world."

Eye-popping orange
The new processor is depicted in an eye-popping orange hue -- the Pentium 3 was represented in green. Print ads are expected later this year, and outdoor is under consideration. Online advertising was created by Modem Media, San Francisco.

Intel's latest marketing push is designed to convey the multimedia-rich experience a computer with the Pentium 4 chip delivers, such as enabling consumers to perform speedy music downloads, handle streaming media and edit photos, as well as create, edit and play movies.

Intel, along with Microsoft Corp. and other partners in the Wintel camp, is busy evangelizing the Extended PC concept, positioning the PC as a digital hub and activity center. The company first shared the concept last month at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This year the company will deliver several branded consumer PC peripherals, such as the previously announced Pocket Concert digital music player, PC cameras, a line of toys including the Digital Movie Maker announced this week at the International Toy Fair, and wireless peripherals.

The company is counting on the P 4 and the array of forthcoming products to stoke sagging PC sales.

Music as killer app
"Music is a very hot category, it's a killer app [application]," said Ann Lewnes, VP-consumer marketing. "The Pocket Concert product helps us tell the Extended PC story."

Ms. Lewnes said the digital music player, available at retail later this month, will eventually be bundled with PCs from Wintel partners. "Streaming media is not something that only the cognoscenti are doing," she added.

Additional bundles with consumer products are expected later this year, particularly in the third and fourth quarters. Both Intel and Microsoft also expect to deliver a Web tablet and a chat pad for instant messaging later this year or by early 2002. Naturally, both would link to a PC.

But the trouble with the robust P 4, says Roger Kay, research manager at International Data Corp., is that "for most users, the bandwidth issue trumps the desktop performance issue." In other words, it doesn't matter how much processing power a person has if he or she still has a dial-up Internet connection. That said, Mr. Kay praised the P 4-enhanced PC he's using: "It handles multimedia really well." He cited Webcast software that enables users to broadcast directly to the Internet from an IP address.

Touting visual functions
For the enterprise customer, Intel will tout visual computing functions and other aspects of the network computing experience. Like its partners, Intel is eager to get more mileage from the PC amid a major slowdown in the market, both on the consumer and corporate sides of the business. The global PC market grew only 9.2% year-on-year in the fourth quarter 2000, and the U.S. market grew only 0.3%, according to IDC.

At least one analyst thinks Intel needs to rethink its marketing to convince both consumer and enterprise customers that they need to buy the more powerful P 4 machines. "That's the question the campaign has to answer: Why do people need all this power?" said Rob Enderle, research fellow, Giga Information Group.

Mr. Kay agreed: "The need for this sort of speed is not entirely demonstrated. ... There's only a small segment of people who could justify it." A baseline P4 system costs approximately $2,000.

"[Intel] should have continued to argue that the PC was relevant and vital. ... No number of MP3 players is going to fix that," Mr. Enderle said. "They misdirected their marketing dollars and funded a campaign that didn't do anything that they needed to accomplish in the fourth quarter, which is to build demand," he said, referring to Intel's Pentium III campaign last fall that featured Blue Man Group in brand-oriented executions.

Intel's Ms. Lewnes maintains that brand-oriented TV advertising featuring the quirky blue-faced artists is as important in building awareness for the P 4 as it was with the P 3. "As with any product launch, the first phase is to generate awareness, and all of our data says we have had tremendous breakthrough, in all the clutter."

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