WHAT IF HP HAD STOPPED WITH OSCILLATORS?

Ad Mocks Opponents of Compaq Merger

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. in a new ad campaign is trying to convince individual shareholders and large institutional investors that its $25 billion merger with Compaq Computer Corp. will make the company stronger and more diversified.

Ads created by HP's agency, Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, broke Dec. 19 in more than 50 daily newspapers and are designed to shore up support for the beleaguered merger.

A two-page spread by HP in USA Today featured

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HP's first invention, the audio oscillator 200A.

The ad copy reads: "What if we had stopped here? We might have stopped at the audio oscillator. It was a nice business. We might have stopped at the scientific pocket calculator. After all, hp invented the category. Even now, some suggest we might stop at printers."

Walter Hewlett, son of HP's co-founder William Hewlett, and an HP director, is against the merger and has mounted his own lobbying campaign to put a stop to it. A vote is set for February.

A HP spokeswoman declined to comment.

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