HEWLETT-PACKARD CAMPAIGN AIMS TO HUMANIZE PRINTERS;GOODBY WORK CREATES THEME THAT'S ADAPTABLE BY OTHER UNITS

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Goodby, Silverstein & Partners' first TV campaign for Hewlett-Packard Co. printers starts Nov. 25. But this could be just the beginning of an expanding relationship.

The San Francisco agency has created a theme for printers that easily could be adapted by other divisions.

HUMANIZE THE BRAND

With the theme "Built by engineers. Used by normal people," the new campaign pokes fun at HP's engineering heritage while seeking a way to humanize the brand.

"If we did our work right, by default it could apply to parts of the business that we don't manage," said agency Account Director Diane Simpson. She stressed Goodby is not actively courting other pieces of the tech marketer's decentralized ad account.

HP, the leading marketer of laser and ink-jet printers, will spend $10.5 million on the first leg of the campaign through mid-February.

In two of the 30-second TV spots for business laser printers-directed by Jeff Goodby, co-chairman and creative director-real engineers are featured; the spots will run on CNN and in spot markets through February. Print ads, which broke last week, also run into February in computer and business publications.

In one spot, a genuine nerd gives a tiring product explanation while a voice-over offers a simple translation. In the second, engineers are told their printer can do everything but mow the lawn; they quickly convert a LaserJet into a mower.

THRILLED ENGINEERS

"We feel the humor is that the engineers are part of the joke," said Arlene King, HP's North American printer ad manager. Engineers, she added, "are thrilled that we are giving them credit for making the company successful."

Two other spots for home ink-jet printers show consumers rather than engineers, though the tagline remains. The home spots will run on network and cable through yearend.

The printer ads pitch specific products but also carry a brand message.

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