New Pentium 4 Campaign Kicks Off Today

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Intel has harnessed space aliens to the task of stoking demand for PCs powered by its new Pentium 4 microprocessor.

Part of a $300 million global ad and marketing push, the

New technology livens up a UFO.

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first of three spots of the outer space campaign, dubbed "Technology Quest," break in network prime time today.

Created by Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, the campaign chronicles the aliens' adventures on Earth as they search for the most advanced technology -- the Pentium 4, naturally.

Rockin' a UFO
In "Digital Discovery," breaking tonight, the aliens are in their spaceship, a drab vessel where color, sound and action are muted. When they get their hands on the Pentium 4 processor, they gain access into the lively world of digital audio and video.

"We're really trying to associate the Pentium 4 with digital media ... music, video and imaging and all the fun things you can do," said John Travis, Intel's director of consumer advertising. PCs loaded with the Pentium 4 chip and Windows XP, the new operating system from Microsoft Corp., are beginning to show up at retail stores.

'Digital Transformation'
In another spot, "Digital Transformation," the aliens attach a digital camera

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to their computer and find a beautiful earthling's video of her vacation in Paris. Despite the woman's great looks, the aliens edit the video, turning her into an alien like them. A third spot, "Digital DJ," shows an alien using a Pentium 4-enabled PC to create music mixes for a portable MP3 player.

This isn't the first time Intel has used a whimsical, entertaining hook to pedal its processors. A few years ago, ads featured spacesuit-clad characters affectionately nicknamed "bunny people." Last year, it turned to performance artists Blue Man Group to promote the Pentium processor.

Despite the bottoming PC market, Intel remains determined to aggressively promote the Pentium 4. The message behind the campaign: "The Pentium 4 gives you the best experience with digital audio and video," Mr. Travis said.

Messner tapped production company PDI, a division of movie studio DreamWorks SKG, to create the aliens. PDI supposedly created the characters and animation on Pentium 4 PCs.

Extraterrestrials elsewhere
Intel is one of a number of marketers that have turned to extraterrestrials of late. Sony Electronics has Plato, a furry blue alien, as the centerpiece of its youth-oriented Walkman brand campaign by WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York.

IBM Corp. has men in spacesuits called "codernauts" tramping across planet Earth in a multimedia campaign promoting its software offerings. The codernauts come to earth in search of better software, recording daily observations and encounters with IBM sub-brands-DB2, WebSphere, Lotus and Tivoli. WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, created the campaign.

Intel's TV, print and online campaign runs through early January in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Outdoor advertising is planned for outside the U.S.

Modem Media, San Francisco, handles online advertising, which starts the week of Oct. 15 on entertainment and technology enthusiast Web sites. Print ads begin this week in entertainment and lifestyle magazines; TV will run on prime-time network, cable and syndicated TV and sports programming.

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