HP embarks on $400 million branding blitz

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Hewlett-Packard Co. today kicks off an estimated $400 million global brand campaign to show the world that the company best known for printers is capable of delivering a broad range of technology to businesses and consumers.

CEO Carly Fiorina, eager to move forward after a tumultuous year during which HP's merger with Compaq Computer Corp. was finally consummated, unveils the campaign at Comdex, the annual information-technology trade show in Las Vegas.

The testimonial-style effort, created by Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, leverages HP's diverse customer base-including Amazon.com, NASA, The New York Stock Exchange, FedEx and Dreamworks-to tell stories portraying the depth and breadth of HP's capabilities.

The massive TV, print, online and outdoor push breaks with eye-popping 16-page inserts in The New York Times Co.'s New York Times and Dow Jones & Co.'s The Wall Street Journal, and in an eight-page insert in Gannett Co.'s USA Today. A 60-second TV spot, "Anthem," rolls out today on NBC's "Today Show," followed by network prime time including ABC's "Monday Night Football" and cable. The spot leverages the insert, showcasing nine companies participating in the campaign. Another spot shows an astronaut in explorer mode, floating in a moonscape, wandering along the highway and through a neighborhood before arriving home. Voice-over: "With the help of HP's technology and servers, the world's space agencies can focus on getting their employees home safely."

The effort comes after HP in May closed its merger with Compaq. The merger was preceded by a bitter and protracted proxy war that pitted Walter Hewlett, son of an HP founder, against Ms. Fiorina. The pitched battle, played out in high-profile ads for both sides, was to many Silicon Valley watchers profoundly out of character for the company born in a garage.

Now, HP hopes to sound a decidedly more upbeat note with customers and shareholders by capping TV and print ads with the line "everything is possible," an addition to the company's "invent" tagline.

"We're still using `invent' but we liked `everything is possible' because it represents the spirit of this company, it's not a tagline, it's a phrase that sums up who we are," said Gary Elliott, VP-global brand and marketing communications.

Mr. Elliott said the brand strategy was developed in early 2002 and involved HP's entire global brand communications team, along with heads of the company's four business divisions-enterprise systems, services, personal systems and imaging and printing.

Print ads will run in business titles including Forbes and McGraw-Hill Co.'s Business Week. The 16-page inserts show HP customers such as NASA and refer to HP's upgrading of the space agency's network infrastructure and installation of HP OpenView to monitor for network failures. Spare copy gives way to a linking of the customer subject and HP-"explorers + hp." Online home-page takeovers are planned during the initial launch on Yahoo!, CNET, WSJ.com and Disney.com, using rich-media technologies and large ad units.

`explorers'

"The heroes of our ads are our customers," said Karen Jones, director of brand advertising, HP. The ads feature vivid photography. The "space explorers" execution rises this week in a billboard in New York City's Times Square.

For Hollywood studio Dreamworks, HP provides the workstations that enable the animators to create the images movie-goers see in films such as "Shrek."

At least 20 customers are in the ad hopper; specific executions will be tailored for Japan and Latin America.

"One of the problems is that they're both a consumer and enterprise company, but having customer testimonials is a very good approach; it lends credibility and they need credibility right now," said Steve Milunovich, computer analyst, Merrill Lynch.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' FCBi, New York, handled interactive duties on the campaign led by Goodby's creative direction. Zenith Optimedia handles all global media buying, while Goodby plans brand advertising. HP spent $169 million in measured media in the U.S. from January to August and $276 million in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

contributing: alice z. cuneo

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