The "AlphaPowered" campaign and a related co-op program for computermakers amount to a smaller-scale version of the "Intel inside" effort. Intel, the world's largest technology ad spender, will spend an estimated $900 million this year on its own advertising and co-op ads to drive demand for Pentium chips.
Ironically, Digital is swiping an idea from a company it has accused of stealing its technology. Digital last month filed suit against Intel, contending the world's largest chipmaker appropriated Alpha technology. Intel denied the charge and is countersuing.
HEAVIEST SPENDING IN U.S.
The "AlphaPowered" campaign, via DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, starts in specialty computer titles and will move into broader computer and business publications later this year. Most of the budget will be spent on U.S. media, though Digital also is looking at Germany and Japan.
The campaign will be paid for equally by Digital, Samsung Electronics Co. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.; the latter two license rights to make the chips. The trio will give co-op money to makers of Alpha-based computers who run a new "AlphaPowered" logo in ads.
Digital is the biggest seller of Alpha-based computers, but it hasn't yet enticed any major PC maker to use Alpha.
Digital is scrapping an earlier "AlphaGeneration" co-op plan.
The Alpha chip has been a niche product for workstations and servers since its 1992 launch. But Digital now is positioning Alpha for a broader base of business desktop computer users who run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT.
Digital and Microsoft have an alliance to push Windows NT, Microsoft's most powerful operating system. Alpha machines soon are expected to be available for as little as $2,500, making the technology more appealing.
NOT PURSUING EVERYONE
"We're not trying to reach everyone in the PC market. We're really going for those people who could most benefit from Alpha," said Linda Sanders, marketing programs director for Digital's semiconductor division.
Dataquest projects Windows NT sales will soar to 40 million units in 2000, from 5 million this year. Tim Miller, Alpha strategic marketing manager, estimates 20% to 30% of the 40 million NT packages will go onto machines used for visual