Dell's $80M Ad Push: We're Not Just a Computer Seller

Corporate Campaign Stresses Business-Tech Solutions

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Dell is unleashing an ambitious $80 million corporate branding campaign aimed at evolving its image from a company that sells computers to a full-service technology business-solutions provider.

A print ad from the new campaign
A print ad from the new campaign

"One of the big priorities I had when I moved into the job is how do we fundamentally change the perceptions that customers have about Dell," said Karen Quintos, senior VP-chief marketing officer since September. "We just fundamentally feel this is a great time to be telling the story around Dell and launch the first-ever corporate brand campaign of this scale in the U.S."

The umbrella campaign, created by Dell agency WPP's Y&R, is set to bow at the end of June with the theme "The Power to Do More." Dell has been using that tagline since last fall, but this will be its first concerted external marketing push. The first TV spot features doctors, business people and teachers who all want to "do more" for their respective customers.

The same ad began running in Germany earlier this year to initial positive results. Ms. Quintos said. Within six weeks, overall brand health measures increased by double digits, and Dell expects a similar result in the U.S.

While some of the ads in the campaign feature business-to-business solutions, Ms. Quintos said this corporate campaign is aimed at consumers as well. "A lot of what you will see is a combination of a customer outcome-based enabling of teachers and doctors and CIOs to do more with technology … but at the same time changing some of the perceptions around Dell and really getting them to understand the full suite of our capabilities," she said.

She added that new consumer advertising and marketing work set to come out in the next month or so is "a natural extension" of the corporate effort. That consumer effort will feature traditional Dell devices, but is more about customer solutions and showing how technology can help consumers do more as well, she said.

The marketer is still most known for its consumer tech devices such as PCs, servers and tablets, but over the past several years has added services and solutions such as IT management, consulting, storage and cloud-computing capabilities. Some of the growth has been organic, but also through acquisition such as Perot Systems, Scalent and Compellent Technologies. Its evolution to full-service business-solutions provider puts the company squarely in competition with companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Cisco Systems.

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