Rival PC Makers Team Up on $70 Million Campaign Promoting PCs

HP, Dell and Lenovo Partner with Intel and Microsoft on 'PC Does What' Effort

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In a historic move, rival PC makers Dell, HP and Lenovo are teaming up with chip-maker Intel and software company Microsoft on a $70 million campaign called "PC Does What," designed to showcase innovation in PCs and get users to upgrade to newer devices.

The campaign, which is being announced Thursday during a webcast featuring the CMOs of the five partner companies, will roll out next week with five TV spots, online ads and social media. The campaign was created by McGarry Bowen, Intel's agency of record, after a creative review in which the agency for each partner pitched ideas to the consortium.

"This is the first time we've ever formed a partnership with the five biggest companies in the PC category," said Steve Fund, CMO at Intel, who came up with the idea.

"The reason the time is now is that there has been unprecedented innovation in the category, with [Microsoft's] Windows 10 operating system, our new 6th-generation Core processor, and great innovation in terms of the best devices coming out from Dell, Lenovo and HP," he said.

David Roman, CMO at Lenovo, said at first he was "a bit concerned" about how the creative product would turn out. "When you get together a group of people with very disparate interests, it can end up having a lowest-common-denominator effect -- with an end product that is too standardized and uninteresting," he said.

"These three OEMs compete ferociously with each other, so to get people to think about the category in a new way will benefit everybody," Mr. Roman added. "We want to bring back the excitement and the passion to the category, and get people to rethink the new generation of PCs."

Each partner briefed its own ad agency on the campaign objective, then the agencies pitched their ideas to the consortium partners.

"McGarry Bowen was the clear choice," Mr. Roman said. Lenovo's agency is Ogilvy & Mather.

The first 30-second spot shows a helicopter rescue team on a mission to save a person stranded in a raft on the ocean. The spot highlights, in a humorous way, some of the newest PC innovations, from up to an 18-hour battery life to improved graphics and sound. Throughout the spot, amazed onlookers ask, "PC Does What?"

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Additional 15-second spots highlight specific features of next-generation PCs, such as thinner screens, infinity-edge display and 30-times better graphics than older-generation PCs, defined as at least five years old.

"We really believe that we need to be at the core of where consumers and professionals are doing all of their work," said Karen Quintos, senior VP-CMO at Dell.

"With more than 600 million PCs out there [globally] that are more than four years old -- this is a super-compelling time for consumers to recognize the role the PC plays and give them a reason to upgrade," Ms. Quintos said.

While Dell has partnered with Microsoft and Intel on joint marketing efforts, it has never partnered with PC competitors on a joint campaign, Ms. Quintos said. "We were one of the first to talk to Intel about it," she said. "Together with Lenovo and HP, we found this would be a very compelling opportunity to leverage our message in the various markets we serve."

The campaign begins Oct. 19 in the U.S. and China and will run through Nov. 30. It will complement each partner's respective marketing efforts in the fourth quarter.

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